Financial challenges faced by head teachers of schools in process of administration

  

Date Posted: 2/4/2013 5:41:40 AM

Posted By: Chrisantous  Membership Level: Silver  Total Points: 216

Financial challenges faced by head teachers of schools in process of administration

Introduction
Head teachers play a major role in the management of all school financial activities, which involve the disbursement of money. The money is obtained through various sources such as fees. According to Orlosky (1984), financial management determines the way the school is managed and whether or not the school will meet its objectives. The head teacher is responsible for budgeting, accounting and auditing functions of financial management. With the introduction of free primary education, schools get some funding from the government while parents are required to meet various other costs such as school development projects and boarding fees (Republic of Kenya, 2005). It is not clear whether this arrangement is friendly to the schools.
Formula funding
Formula funding allocates a budget to each individual school based on that school’s pupil numbers and characteristics. The formula for each school is determined on the basis of national funding regulations with scope for local implementation. The local authority, in consultation with School Forums, makes decisions on local implementation.
Head teachers play a significant role in local consultation on school funding. Individual schools are consulted on proposed changes to the local funding formula and scheme for financing schools, with the head teacher often leading the school’s response. Head teachers also constitute a significant proportion of members of each local authority’s Schools Forum. Schools Forums play a consultative and decision-making role in relation to school funding.

As the system has developed under local management, more and more resources have been delegated to schools and they now control the overwhelming majority of their funding. This has inevitably resulted in a higher level of responsibility for head teachers, whose role in managing school finances is essential to the efficient operation of the funding system.
Once a school’s individual allocation is determined, the school has control over how its funding is used. Head teachers play a key role in such school-based decision-making. Governing bodies can delegate authority to head teachers in relation to how the school’s budget is spent, including decisions on staffing resources.
But in case where a school has as small number of students it means that they will receive little amount from the government which may not be enough for them to manage the school.
Insufficient funds
The serious funding problems mean that head teachers in many schools in England and Wales have to manage budgets that are insufficient to cover the costs faced by the school. This has caused cutbacks in schools and increased workload for teachers and in some cases redundancies.
Instead of managing funding shortages, head teachers should be able to play a key role in a new funding system based on the needs of schools. The NUT continues to press for the introduction of a needs-led funding system for schools that would objectively assess the resources needed to deliver high quality education.
In addition to funding to meet the statutory requirements placed upon them and to take account of their individual needs, schools need extra funding to enable effective teaching and learning. This means improvements in teachers’ conditions of service: smaller class sizes and reduction in workload, for example. Head teachers themselves would benefit from reduced workload pressures.
Under such a system head teachers would play a key role, along with other teachers, to identify the needs of their schools based on national priorities to help deliver a first class education service. It is clear that a funding system that meets schools’ needs is in the interests of heads as well as other teachers.
Delay of funds
The school mainly depend on the government to finance its activities, but in a situation where the government delays to release funds to the schools the head teachers find themselves in a hard situation in running the school. This forces them to sending students at home to bring funds.
The delay in disbursement of Free Secondary Education funds was a challenge in school management as most transactions settlement time would not be met. In a study of Challenges faced by newly appointed principals in the management of public secondary schools during an interview with the principals all of them said that “Delay of Free Secondary Education funds hinders effective running of schools and it puts us in a very awkward position as managers” They all suggested that “Clear policies for disbursement be put in place and delay of disbursement be avoided at all cost”. Infact the District Quality Assurance and Standards Officer said that “the delay of Free Secondary Education funds has been so frequent that it is unpredictable when funds are to be expected when in schools a situation that messes up the newly appointed principals and all principals and it is high time the government stopped delay of funds”.

Fee defaulting
Fee defaulting happens a result of the high poverty index in a region, an issue experienced by all the third world countries, Kenya included. Bush and Oduro (2006), found out that new principals face serious problems created by non-payment of school fees. Leu and Byren (2005), who did a study in six sub-Saharan countries namely, Ghana, Guinea, Ethiopia, Tanzania, Uganda and Madagascar and found out that parents are reluctant to pay fees and again it is the heads who must ensure that the fees is paid. During interviews schedule with the principals and the District Quality Assurance and Standards Officer they all complained of huge fee arrears caused by poor fee payment and that was a great challenge to the newly appointed principals. Six of the principals said this was as a result of the poor economic backgrounds of the students and the high number of orphans in schools who lacked proper sources of finances.
Budgeting
According to the Ministry of education (1999). Head teachers must understand the importance of managing and maintaining school resources. Head teacher are charged with the responsibility of managing resource, whether tangible or intangible which include financial, physical, time, school projects and programmes and people. A budget is a carefully outlined plan for financing the desired activities of a school. The head teacher as the lead person in planning and directing school activities must be active in determining, mobilizing and acquiring financial resources. This will help to effectively implement the school development plan.

Drawing up institutional budgets is not an optional activity. It is a legal requirement as stipulated in the educations Act Cap 211. The cash receipts must be from sources approved by the ministry. The estimated expenditures must be approved by the school management committee. KESI (2011).It is a regulation from the ministry of education that schools prepare the following budgets:
Tuition Accounts – A/c I requirements.
Operations Accounts – A/c II requirements.
Parents/Boarding Accounts – A/c III requirements.
The types of budgets normally prepared in educational institutions are:
i.Project budget- these are drawn for specific projects like constructions of class rooms, or building of perimeter wall. It covers the activities from the beginning to the end of such project.
ii.Period budget- this is prepared for all activities in the stated planning period. The planning period can be month quarter of a year or annual plans. Such types of budgets recur over the strategic planning period, KESI (2011).

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