PROJECT TOPIC- BUDGETARY PRACTICES OF SECONDARY SCHOOL PRINCIPALS AND BURSARS IN ENUGU EDUCATION ZONE OF ENUGU STATE
This study investig;tted budgetary practices of secondary school principals in lltiugu education zont: of Enugu state. The need for the study arose because of the criticisms leveled against principals of secondary schools in Enugu educaiion /.one, that they do not prepare and execute budget according to guideline. ‘I’he study sought answers to the following:
(a) What are ttic procedures secondary school principals and bursars use to prepare budget in their schools?
(I))I low do secondary schools execute the budget of their schools?
(c) What are the Iactors that affect budget operation in schools?
‘I’he population for the study comprised the 28 principals and 28 bursars in Enugu education zone of Enugu state. There was no sampling of the already small population. Questionnaire was the instrument for data collection. Data collected were analyzed using mean scores and standard deviation while the T-test statistics was used in testing the hypothesis.
Based on the analysis, the following findings were made.
i) Budget preparation has a standard format in the zone and budget should be prepared evely academic year.
ii) Necessary school account books were found used in schools, budget is adopted befbre its administration, and that staff are held to account for
i i i ) Factors that affect budget operation include none involvement of stall’ in budget preparation, inflationary character of goods and services and
withdrawal of’ government subsidy in secondary school affect budget and expected income for the school is usually less than actual expenditure.
Background of the Study
School budgeting has hislorically been the process of balancing expenditures with revewes to affect changes in speading, a process policy
makers view as constrictive (1998 U.S. General accounting Office Report).
According to Roe in Ogbonnaya (2000) school budgeting is the translation of educational needs into financial plan which is interpreted to the public in such a way that when fi~nl~allyad opted, it expresses the k i d of educational programme, the continuity is willing to support financially and nora ally, for a particdar period usually one year. Based on this definition and given the uncertainiy ol’ litlancing public education, one can~ot determine with any degree 01′ certainty the level of funding that will be available fbr public sedation. If’ titnds do llot flow as anticipated, some nieces may have to be deferred for future consideration. The task is then to match prioritized needs to projected financial resources.
Government describes its intention and policies which it would like to pursue during a particular budgetary year, against which it draws up a financial plan corresponding to this scheme of things. Such a financial plan contains the details of estimated receipts and also proposed expenditures and other Salisbury-seine ill under various heads (Bhalia 2000).
Legislative arms of the government lave used budget for effective functioning of the activities of the administrative Branch of -ro ve~eminent. As the processes of education has beckon complex in ter~ns of both content and services with education becoming mow popular at the same time, orderly financial planning in scl~ools nus st be well understood. getting which is supposed to be prepared at the beginning of each tiscal year as a guideline, is being drawn ally time the school needs money from the state school board. Items are purl~ached by the school as rlw need arises without any guide on how much to spend 011 a particular item. Principals do 11ot involve staff in budget preparation.
According to Johns, Morph ct, and Relies ( 1983), i t is extremely important~lath at the people within the scl~ool who actually operate the educational programme have a large share in l~udget preparation that is in collecting the necessary data that will constitute llle irlcor~w am1 exper~diture iiw the Iiscal year. Administrators of educated such as principals sl~Gould e acquainted with budgetary practices. According t o l’1111gu education zone budget document (2005/2006), secondary school bt~rsars/fina~lcoef ticers are in charge of collection of school fees, other fees, and levies fiwm the students and issue receipts.
Bursars/finance officers are meant to guide the preparation of the budget of’ their schools because this involves an elaborate working out of all the estimated revenue and expenditui-e seclion by seclicm, ilern by item, in details. Rased on the scl~ool populatior~, I)~~rsars/ti~lanoct\eti ccss detenni~let he expected revenue of the school and match it with estimated expenditure. Okeke, Nosiri, lMe, Ozurulnba, and lgwe ( 1985) stated that the principal of an individual seco~ldary scllool is authorized by ~llep osl prinlary school mallagelrlent board to administer the budget of his school.
Okeke, Nosiri, lllele, C)zurumba, and lgwe (1985) furttier state that this idea ot’tlle psincipal alone operating the budget is to make sure that the budget is kept in balance. If’ many hands were to operate, the budget there might be over spending oil cestain item and no money will be left for other needs thereby making the educational programme unachievable.
Enugu education zone budget document (2005/2006), stipulates that some percentages ol’ the school fees collected goes to the government purse while the principal budgets the re~naining for his school activities. Principals are aulhorized to use 80% of equipment fee, 50% of libra~yfe e for the purchase of sports wears, facilities, and equipment. ‘l’he principals can also apply fol- 13’I’A levies when there are clanlages, erection of new buildings and all capital puiec~s.
‘l’he budget process can be broken down into various parts for~niilg a cycle that repeats itself’ fiorii year to year The budget is the fundamer~tat docurnent tiom which all other aspects of the district’s financial operation are nleasused, the development, adoption and execution of budget is really a yearlong process. According to Gardner, (2004), the strategic financial plan requires that policies, statements, and plans be linked together. The mission of’ the school as well as goals, objectives, programmes, site based goals and objectives, out con~es, and budget are used in corljunction to develop the slr-ategjc J)!HII. Wllen all these tl~ingsa re in place and linked together, justifying li~ndingp rogrorns may be easier.
The budget approval process seems to involve inally people both ill the school system a ~ t~hed lo cal town. Gardner (2004), li~rtller state that tlw budget is first developed at the site level, each school developing their ow11 budget, then it is passed on to the superintendent who approves the budger, dlowit~git to be passed on to the school board who the 11 approves it passing it along to the city level where it is presented to the co~nlnunitya nd at times voted on, depending on the community.
Financial r~~anagernenint schools has been of necessity due to increase in the demand fill. education. Hourigan (2003) stated that managing finances and assets is an essential part of the management standard criteria required of principals ill running tiller schools. As the number of enrollment in secondary schools increases, their financial i~application also increases thereby demanding development of proper financial system. Education is no longer a government responsibility alone because allocations are 110 longer given to seco~~dary scllools in recent years, individuals are now expected to bear the burden of their education.
In Enugu State, Seconds~y Schools depend mainly on the school fees and other education levies usually paid by the students. The state ministry of education and the state school board controls the finances of schools using school budget by trip~principals of schools. Budget estimates are made by the l~incipals and passed tllrougll the accounting department of the state scllool board for approval. I t is after such approval that the budget is put into action.
‘I’l~e scllovl budget therefore is an instru~ne~f~otr the financial rllanagement of scl~ools.I t serves the purpose of defining the programmes ant1
activities of’the sclwol system in terms of the alnoullt of money to be spent and how the nloiley will be generated. The basic function of the budget however, is to serve as an insh-ument for planning so that the educational programmes would not be intet-rupted due to lack of funds or depleted accounts. It should be noted that budgetary practices which means following repeatedly the process of preparation, presentation and administration, and appraisal of the budget of schools at this period of limited financial resources calls for urgent attention.
‘ I ‘ k attet~tiori~s not only to optimize the me of the scarce finar~racial esources but also to ensure that the various inputs going into education are rationally managed based on the desired objectives. Preparation of the budget, according to Adesi~~(1a9 90), irlvolves three major plans, educational plan which declines he policies of the school; its programmes and activities as well as other education ill services, the expenditure plan that translates each educational service into cost and the financing plan, which sets out the means of meeting the costs of educational programmes, and services. If the budget is to have any meaning, it must be put in operation.
Morphet (1981), stated that, a budget is i~oati l effective instrument for implement~ltingt he educational programme if it is filed away and referred to only at long intervals. Morphet (l981), fi~others tate that progranmes ~ n t ~bset organized, persons must be employed; supplies trust be purchased; buildings must be constructed, equipped, maintained, and operated; and many types of services trust be provided. ‘I’hese and other things all cost money, and imless the budget serves as a real guide there will be no lnoney left for others.
In the preparation and administration of the school budget. there are some factors, which hinder its effective operation as lack of skills and knowledge by principals, lack of seminars and conferences to upgrade their knowledge and lack of communication between principal and other staff: ‘I’hese lkctors need to be addressed fbr effective budget operation in scl~ools. It is therefore the responsibility of the educational administrators to effectively manage he various resources at their disposal, so that they can ilccount for their stewardship whenever such is demanded ofthem.