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Radical changes made in committee to respond to Audit Bureau’s notes

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‘This gives weight, transparency to responses’

KUWAIT CITY, Nov 18: Despite the significant decrease in State Audit Bureau’s notes registered against the Ministry of Education for fiscal year 2019- 2020 due to the repercussions of the coronavirus, the ministry concluded that radical changes were made in the committee to respond to the bureau’s notes, as it now includes in its membership all assistant undersecretaries, to respond to violations in their sectors, reports Al-Rai daily.

The daily quoting educational sources said “this gives weight and transparency to the responses and would contribute in the future to receding violations, especially after toughening the deduction penalty on employees involved in violation.”

An educational source indicated the responses committee included in its previous membership the directors of departments representing the sectors of the ministry, while the committee assigned full responsibility to the sector undersecretary for its new approach – being the first and last in the event of new violations, confusion or defect.

The source said the Audit Bureau report, which the ministry received recently for the aforementioned fiscal year, did not exceed 50 pages compared to the previous fiscal year’s that reached 250 pages. He indicated that violations were repeated in the report concerning the World Bank agreement for not obtaining the approval of the Audit Bureau in this regard and failure to present it to the Fatwa and Legislation Department – even though it’s a governmental agreement coming from the Council of Ministers.

The source cited what was raised by the daily regarding the agreement in November 2018 entitled “The Integrated Program for the Development of Education … to the Drawers”, as the project approved an agreement between the Ministry and the World Bank worth 10.6 million dinars to be implemented over a period of 5 years from 2015 until 2019. He affirmed that it was presented to the Council of Ministers more than once, while the ministry and the bank went a long way to implement it in exchange for financial payments per year reaching 2.120 million dinars, a total of 8.48 million. He explained that several reasons led to the failure of the project, which include five basic axes, namely: curriculum development, teaching efficiency, school efficiency, accountability of the education system, educational policy, decision-making, and executive support.

He cited the most prominent factor of the project’s failure as the ministerial change that led to the abortion of many projects and aspirations due to the different educational visions and trends. Add to this, the Integrated Program for the Development of Education that was supposed to reap fruits in 2019, in the last year of its implementation, according to the agreement concluded with the bank.

The source stressed the need to develop a firm governmental strategy in all government agencies to adhere to the timetable of projects, especially those included in the development plan – as per agreements submitted by the Council of Ministers. He indicated the abolition of the World Bank agreement was due to popular pressure on the former minister of Education and Higher Education Dr Hamad Al-Azmi, despite the millions of dinars spent on the implementation of the project, while the Audit Bureau granted the right to repeat such violations against the Ministry of Education.

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