Assessing the distribution and utilisation of education funds in the Northern Cape

Martin, Derek (2016-03)

Thesis (MPA)--Stellenbosch University, 2016.

Thesis

ENGLISH SUMMARY: This study focused broadly on the School Funding Norms (SFN) and the effect of this policy on the resource allocation framework of schools. The Northern Cape Education Department (NCED) was used as a case study to explore the extent to which the SFN affects decisions taken by the provincial government in the allocation of funds to schools with ever-increasing learner numbers. These funding allocations, being considered at a time of adverse economic conditions in the country, led to government introducing cost containment measures. This meant that the continuous demand for additional resources by the NCED would hardly be met. The research was mainly based on a non-empirical study of quantitative data obtained from the NCED to determine the financial management systems used by the department in order to allocate funds to the schools under its jurisdiction. This included all the legislative, regulatory and policy instruments at the department’s disposal as well as all the reporting documents through which it accounts. The study also looked at literature concerned with development theories, which included a socio-economic statistical overview, the role of education in development, as well as perspectives on public finance management. Exploring the socio-economic realities of the Northern Cape in relation to the country was especially important, given that the SFN policy is geared towards directing resources to poor and underprivileged schools. The financial management practices of the NCED are also examined in chapters 4 and 5 of the study. One of the key elements is the issue of learner numbers in the province as a major cost driver of the department’s budget. The budget allocation to education as one of government’s key priorities was also an important factor. The amount of funding received by the NCED for the provision of education services in the province has been steadily rising over the years in accordance with increasing learner numbers. While learner numbers increased from 208 877 in 1998 to 285 494 in 2014, the education budget grew substantially from R965 million in 2000/01 to R4.44 billion for the 2013/14 financial year. The NCED received the highest allocation, followed by the Department of Health. Most of the education budget was spent on personnel costs, which amounted to over R3 billion in 2014/15. A major portion of the budget was also taken up by transfer payments to schools. While an amount of R160 million was earlier budgeted for transfer payments to schools, this budget item grew to over R400 million in 2013/14, mainly as a result of an increase in the number of no-fee schools. The number of public schools that received funding from the NCED in 2014/15, for example, stood at 550 with over forty mainly no-fee schools receiving over a million rand each. Allocations were also made to special schools, independent schools and Grade-R institutions, including grants for the Nutrition Programme. Reports from the office of the Auditor-General, however, indicate that there was a lack of sufficient controls within the NCED as well as inadequate capacity to effectively monitor expenditure. It also found that schools did not always submit their audited financial statements as required. The study thus concludes that the NCED did not do enough to address inefficiencies in the system.

AFRIKAANS OPSOMMING:Die studie het breedvoerig ge-fokus op die Norme en Standaarde ten opsigte van Skole-bevondsing (kortweg hierna verwys as “Norme”) en die gevolg wat die beleid op die toekennings-raamwerk van hulpbronne aan skole gehad het. Die Noord-kaapse Onderwysdepartement (NKOD) het as ‘n gevalle-studie gedien om die omvang te ondersoek van die Norme se effek op besluite wat die provinsiale regering moes neem t.o.v. die toekenning van fondse aan skole met toenemende leerling getalle. Hierdie toekenning van fondse, wat oorweeg moes word teen die agtergrond van negatiewe ekonomiese toestande in die land, het aanleiding gegee tot die regering se instelling van koste besparings matreëls. Dit het beteken dat die deurgaanse eise vanaf die NKOD vir bykomstige hulpbronne sou waarskynlik nie aan voldoen kon word nie. Die navorsing was hoofsaaklik gebaseer op ‘n nie-empirise studie oor die kwantitatiewe data verkry vanaf die NKOD om die finansiële bestuur-stelsels wat deur die department gebruik word om fondse aan skole in sy beheer te bepaal. Dit sluit in alle wetgewende, regulerende en beleids instrumente wat die department gebruik tot sy beskikking sowel as verslaggewende dokumente waardeur die department rekenskap gee. Die studie het ook gekyk na die literatuur wat beskikbaar is oor ontwikkelings-teorië wat ‘n statistiese oorsig betreffende die sosio-ekonomiese toestande insluit, asook die rol wat onderwys binne die ontwikkelings-raamwerk speel. Dit sluit ook perspektiewe oor publieke finansiële bestuur in. Wat ook belangrik is, was die ondersoeke na die sosio-ekonomiese realiteite van die Noord-kaap in verhouding met die res van die land, veral gesien vanuit die oogpunt van die Norme dat hulpbronne aan arme en behoeftige skole voorsien moet word. Die finansiële bestuurspraktyke van die NKOD was ook ondersoek in hoofstuk 4 en 5 van die studie. Sommige van die hoof elemente wat na gekyk was sluit in die kwessie oor leerder getalle in die provinsie wat die hoof dryfveer van koste binne die department se begroting is. Die begrotings-toekenning aan onderwys wat een van die regering se hoof prioriteite is, was ook van kardinale belang. Die hoeveelheid bevondsing wat deur die NKOD ontvang was vir die voorsiening van onderwysdienste in die provinsie het ‘n gestadige vermeerdering oor die jare gehad a.g.v. toenemende leerder getalle. Terwyl leerder getalle toegeneem het vanaf 208 877 in 1998 tot 285 494 in 2014, het die begroting vir onderwys ook merkwaardig gegroei vanaf R965 miljoen in 2000/01 tot R4, 44 miljaard in die 2014/15 finansiële jaar. Die NKOD het die grootste toekenning gekry, gevolg deur die Departement van Gesondheid. Die grootste gedeelte van die onderwys begroting was ook opgeneem deur oordrag betalings aan skole. Terwyl ‘n bedrag van R160 miljoen begroot was vir oordrag betalings vroeër, het dié begrotings-item gegroei tot oor die R400 miljoen in 2013/14 hoofsaaklik a.g.v. ‘n verhoging in die getal ‘Geen Fooie’ skole. Die aantal openbare skole wat bevondsing vanaf die NKOD ontvang, byvoorbeeld, het gestaan op 550 waarvan oor die veertig hiervan, hoofsaaklik ‘Geen Fooie’ skole, oor ‘n miljoen rand elk ontvang het. Toekennings was ook gemaak aan spesiale en onafhanklike skole, asook Graad-R instansies, insluitende toelae vir die voeding-skema. Verslae vanuit die Kantoor van die Ouditeur-Generaal, dui egter op ‘n gebrek aan voldoende kontrole binne die NKOD, sowel as ongeskikte bekwaamheid vir die doeltreffende monitering van uitgawes. Dit het ook bevind dat skole nie altyd ge-ouditeerde finansiële verslae aan die department ingedien het soos vereis word nie. Dus het die studie tot die gevolgtrekking gekom dat die NKOD nie genoeg gedoen het om gebreke in die stelsel aan te spreek nie.

Please refer to this item in SUNScholar by using the following persistent URL: http://hdl.handle.net/10019.1/98542
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