Editorial

Prohibiting Fundraising In Schools Should Be Reviewed

For good governance, transparency and accountability the objective, budget, the type of project and how it would be organised must be clear, so too how it will benefit the school and students
20 May 2022 13:10
Prohibiting Fundraising In Schools Should Be Reviewed
Adi Cakobau School students after preforming a meke at Kadavu fundraising yesterday.FIle Photo: RONALD KUMAR.

The Ministry of Education lifted its ban on school fundraising in 2019, but has reversed that decision last week, warning school heads that fundraising is banned.

Fundraising in schools was initially banned in 2011 following Government’s free education initiative.

Government gave out school grants to the management to financially support them.

 

Some school managers were produced in court charged with obtaining financial advantage by the Fiji Independent Commission Against Corruption (FICAC).

In their haste to give free education, Government did not conduct workshops or courses to assist school managers in keeping their books.

Only managers with some financial literacy kept their books.

 

This year Government has allocated a $62 million grant for free education.

In the ministry record as at 2020, there are 871 Early Childhood Education centres (kindergartens), 736 primary schools and 171 secondary schools.

Recently, Minister Premila Kumar following reports of some Parents and Teachers’ Associations (PTA) demanding levies to help in the upkeep of classrooms, and schools warned that heads of schools encouraging fundraising activities will be dealt with.

 

Realistically, the ministry should have justified the reports to have a holistic view of the situations before crossing off such activity.

Rather than abruptly putting an end to fundraising, the ministry could have considered putting in a process that can be used or followed should a school intend to fundraise.

There should also be a list of the types of programmes, events and projects that call for the fundraising.

 

For good governance, transparency and accountability the objective, budget, the type of project and how it would be organised must be clear, so too how it will benefit the school and students.

The ministry should demand for feedback along with the way forward – these can be used as guidelines for future fundraisings.

There are numerous good things that can be drawn from fundraising – it strengthens bonds between teachers, parents and students. It brings in the spirit of teamwork and unity.

 

Fundraising is a family event; students can draw life skills (making and saving money) with their involvement.

In preparing them for their future, they can pick up entrepreneurship and customer service skills.

If they are creative, they can display their artistic skills in numerous ways.

 

While school grants are for support staff salaries, administration, maintenance and bills, schools should be given the green light to raise funds for projects like e-learning, local and overseas excursions, in-house scholarships (meals, uniform, and stationaries etcetera for those who can’t afford them).

Government is unable to provide everything for free; parents need to play their part also as an important stakeholder in education.

There should be a procedure in place to control fundraising.

This can be reviewed after every three years to set a benchmark for future undertakings and decisions with regards to Government grants.

 

Feedback: karalaini.waqanidrola@fijisun.com.fj



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