The campaign is a response to research findings resulting from a three year research programme the organisation undertook in South Africa between 2009 and 2011. During the three-year programme, Transparency and Integrity in Service Delivery in Africa (TISDA), Transparency International found that public primary schools suffered from low levels of rule enforcement, with little, to no sanctions; and that little resources and equipment were dedicated for efficient management of school’s financial resources.
When calling principals’ offices in Gauteng, Mpumalanga and North West to enquire about the financial situation of their schools, the organisation found that most of the principals lacked detailed knowledge of their school’s financial management. This is particularly severe since there are schools that reportedly do not have bookkeepers in charge of the management of the school’s funds. Many principals indicated they had received their budgets late although not everybody understood that this might have resulted from the submission of inaccurate and delayed audit statements.
Transparency International wants to improve the financial management capacities of public primary schools and open up a dialogue on integrity, accountability, and transparency. Together with a local education organisation and supported by the Gauteng Department for Education, Transparency International will train principals and members of the School Governing Bodies on their different roles, rules and responsibilities in the daily financial management of schools.
The organisation also started a public awareness campaign, Integrity is Ayoba, promoting the values of integrity, transparency and accountability among education stakeholders. Cartoon strips dealing with topic such as teacher absenteeism and parental participation, highlight the right choices and show the different education stakeholders how they can get involved in improving primary education.
With the support of the Gauteng Department of Education (GDE), the organisation gathered the principals and informed them about the concept behind the trainings on Tuesday. Transparency International hopes that the GDE or interested training organisations will take a leading role in conducting these trainings after a successful launch.