MBALE – Mbale School of the deaf has only had one student in the senior Five Science class for close to a year now, PML Daily has learnt.
The reports from the school indicate that although there is only one student in Class, the school register indicates that there are seventy  students in the science class.
A survey carried out in the school by district officials last year revealed that more than 300 non-existent students appear in the Ministry of Education data base against the 250 students in the school in reality.
The Ministry of Education’s official statistics do not match actual local school enrollment indicating that the management of the educational system by the ministry of Education at the school and district levels is abysmally weak.
According to government statistics, each student in Mbale school of the deaf is supposed to get Shs 100,000 of capitation grants, this means that for the science class that has one student, the headmistress Sis Rose Nelima gets Shs 100,000 x 70 = Shs 7,000,000 for this particular class per term and Shs 21m per year.
A report by the Chairman Board of Governors [BoGs] Mr Stephen Masiaka says the school has about 250 disabled children but that the head teacher inflated the number to 650 students.
This means that she has 300 students on top and when this is multiplied by the capitation grant per disabled student of Shs 100,000 per term, she gets -300 x 100,000 = 30,000,000 x3 terms = Shs 90m per year.
Mr Masika says that systems for record-keeping and accounting are inadequate, leading to misallocation of funds, capitation grant payments to ‘ghost’ students and a general lack of fiscal accountability in the school.
“Yes, that is true but who told you? I know that S5 science has only one student, who I think has not been taught the entire year because the teacher is not there but the records at school indicate that the class has more than 70 students,” said Mr Masika.
According to a paper dated May 2019 titled; the Ministry of Education and Sports Budgeting and Implementation Guidelines for Primary and Secondary schools, the purpose of capitation grants is to fund the operational/running costs of schools in execution of education service delivery.
The paper indicates that all eligible primary and secondary schools receive capitation grants based on the approved unit costs per school and per learner, in accordance with guidance from the MoES and that before the beginning of each academic year, all beneficiary schools are required to prepare an annual school budget derived from the annual work plan with inputs from all key stakeholders namely; pupils, teachers, PTA, SMC/BoG and local authorities.
Although it is clear that the budget is supposed to be discussed and approved by the SMC/BoG and submitted to the relevant local government authorities with copy to MoES for approval before the start of the academic year, Mr Masika says his school never seeks his input on many occasions.
Mr Boaz Kamuli all said eligible primary and secondary schools are supposed to receive capitation grants based on the approved unit costs per school and per learner, in accordance with guidance from the MoES.
Mr Mugoya Muhammad, another educationist, an inspector of schools in Mbale City said although each ordinary secondary school is meant to get about Shs 80,000, most schools have inflated the population of students in order to get more money.
“This is not the only school inflating numbers to defraud the government, there are many across the country, there are many and the government is losing colossal sums of money and I know that this is syndicated,” said Mr Mugoya.
Mr Masika who has already requested the ministry of transfer the head teacher Mbale School of the deaf Sis Nelima for misleading the BoG, ministry of Education and sports and government to believe that there are 600 students in the school when there are only 250 students wants the ministry to expedite this to save the school from sinking financially.
He adds that the head teacher singularly withdraws capitation grants contrary to regulations 2.2.3 of ministry of Education budgeting and policy implementation guidelines as of May 2019 that says withdrawal of funds should be done by the Head teacher and chairman BoGs.
Mr Masika says that the head teacher usually invites the strangers in the Board meetings; former Board members of the school and local community members to cheer her up which contravenes the guidelines on board meetings.
“And any efforts to block strangers from attending the meeting, Sis Nelima, the head teacher does not accept and later pays them for attending the meeting,” said Mr Masika.
He added that if the ministry does not transfer Sis Nelima away from the school, she will lead the school into heavy indebtedness and continue defrauding government capitation grants.
Sis RoseNelima, the headmistress of Mbale school of the deaf could not be reached for comment nor her deputy Mr Bikuku as they could not answer their calls.
This comes at the time Ms Janet Museveni, the Minister of Education and sports, has written [September 2 ] to the Minister of Finance to release capitation grants for Third Term to enable schools prepare for reopening of candidate classes.
And at the time the government has already released Shs 32.6 billion to facilitate the safe reopening and operationalisation of public schools as finalists and candidates return to classrooms.
The education ministry in 2008 threatened to cut funds to schools after it had realised that most schools had presented inflated numbers of enrolled pupils, however, contrary to this directive, the finance ministry went ahead and paid all districts 100% of the funds.
In 2013, the Economic Policy Research Centre (EPRC) conducted a survey of USE schools and found the following as their major constraints: low and fixed capitation grant per USE student per term, minimal support from government for infrastructure development, and government increased the capitation grants per student.