Seventy government owned schools in various districts upcountry are guilty of misappropriation of education funds, according to a probe by Transparency International Rwanda (TIR).
Over 400 million was found to have been misappropriated by heads of schools out of a total Rwf1 billion that had been allocated to them. Top on the list are schools in Rusizi District.
The financial mismanagement has largely been blamed on lack of parents’ participation in the management of schools.
Speaking to The New Times on Wednesday, Marie Imaculee Ingabire, the chairperson of TIR, said about 300 ‘ghost’ students were discovered in the various schools in Rusizi.
She said some head teachers tried to justify the embezzlement by claiming that the salaries they are paid are meagre.
However, Ingabire said public funds cannot be diverted under the pretext of low salaries. She appealed to parents to play a part in school management.
The anti-corruption watchdog used a sample of seven schools in each district among 10 districts.
The survey was organised in partnership with the Ministry of Education.
The schools were chosen randomly with focus on those located in the countryside.
“The probe was done to assess whether disbursed funds are used accordingly,” Ingabire said.
“No head of school wanted to be the subject of the survey as some consider schools as personal property.”
Grace Usabyimana, the head master of Groupe Scolaire Bukomero in Byimana, Ruhango District, who was recognised for proper management of the education budget, attributed her proper management of funds to consultation with parents.
Gerald Rutari, the deputy director general in charge of quality education at Rwanda Education Board, said financial mismanagement cannot be tolerated.
He urged schools to increase collaboration with parents, saying it will help improve education standards.
Other schools which were recognised are Cyabagarura in Musanze District and Groupe Scolaire Remera in Kigali.