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Tuesday , February 18 2020

Millions ‘wasted’ as education level falls

KUWAIT CITY, Oct 30: The final report of the State Audit Bureau during the examination, audits and review of the accounts and records of Ministry of Education for the 2018/2019 fiscal year recorded many irregularities and observations covering most sectors, including revenues and expenses, contracts, facilities, maintenance, salaries, bonuses, employment affairs, warehouses, stores and others, reports Al-Qabas daily.

The State Audit Bureau reviewed the cooperation agreement concluded between Ministry of Education and the World Bank concerning the program for improving the quality of school education, which amounted to about KD 11 million. It then affirmed that the ministry failed to tighten the contracting procedures, supervise, and follow-up implementation.

This resulted in the failure to achieve the desired goals from concluding the agreement and caused damage to the public funds. It expressed reservations about validity of expenses incurred by the ministry’s budget.

The report stated that the ministry has caused the financial budget of about KD 5.8 million to be charged by the World Bank as service fees, despite failure of the agreement to achieve its objectives. This is refl ected in Kuwait’s decline in the quality of primary education and school administration, according to the International Competitiveness Report at the World Economic Forum.

Last year, Kuwait also ranked last in the Gulf region as per the same report in the indicators of the quality of secondary education and the quality of mathematics and science education, and the decline in the quality of school administration. Kuwait ranked 111th in the world, but in 2016/2017, it ranked 92nd.

The State Audit Bureau highlighted the exaggerated costs of translation in the disbursement to the World Bank, amounting to $388,000 (KD 118,000), as well as the costs of accommodation and travel for the World Bank adviser, which amounted to about $108,000 (KD 33,000), for only six months. Ministry of Education commented on the accounting observations that, based on the exchange of correspondences on paid advisory services between Kuwait and the World Bank, the agreement was adopted on behalf of the State of Kuwait and Ministry of Education in 2015. The report also highlighted shortcomings in the rent activities for government sites, stressing that the ministry deprived the Treasury of revenues amounting to about KD 1.5 million.

This is the result of failure to stipulate the terms of the temporary administrative license to lease some public schools to owners of private schools for long periods of up to 15 years based on a clause to increase the value of money for monthly exploitation at specified periodic periods during the license period. According to the ministry, it is not possible to increase the fee for such licenses for reasons of guardianship.

It stated that the ministry did not govern the control of payment of salaries, which led to unpaid salaries in previous financial years totaling KD 3.5 million. About KD 14 million was spent on non-competent programs in violation of the rules governing implementation of the budget.

The ministry informed that it published a bulletin for all its employees in this regard and stressed the need for commitment by all sectors in this matter.

The report cited other shortcomings in the contracts of maintenance of air conditioning equipment, refrigeration, heating and ventilation in schools and buildings of Ministry of Education, including the extension of contracts for the repair and maintenance of air conditioning equipment and issuing variation orders.

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