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Letter to Editor on the Catholic Education Secretariat’s financial debacle

Mar 17, 2020, 4:37 PM

Dear Editor,

On the Catholic Education Secretariat’s financial debacle

In an obviously sincere bid to finding solutions to one of a myriad of fundamental challenges facing the Government-assisted schools, the Catholic Education Secretariat (CES) finds itself entangled in the proverbial practice of robbing Peter to pay Paul. This might sound disingenuous to some as it reflects the carrying out of the wrong practice for the right purpose, which is to ensure the timely payment of salaries and allowances to teachers and upholding the financial obligations owed to a Cooperative Credit Union.

My beef however is with the decision of the Ministry of Basic and Secondary Education (MoBSE) to suspend the subvention of funds voted by the National Assembly for the purpose to CES. God knows that the justification for government’s intervention in education if only in part where the assisted schools are concerned, is most importantly to ensure equality and promote equity through opportunities and choice. In this context, government provides education by constructing schools and employing teachers, funds education by providing classrooms free of charge and in accordance with the Education Act, 1992, provides grants (subventions) to schools it does not own but chooses to assist.

To my mind, the decision of MoBSE to suspend the subvention to CES might not only aggravate the challenges faced by the Government-assisted schools, but would also contravene the decision of the National Assembly conveyed in the Approved Budgetary Estimates of Recurrent Expenditure and Revenue 2020, thereby spawning other unintended consequences.

I do believe therefore that a review of the financial management practices at CES by well-grounded staff in financial management at MoBSE would certainly prove its worth.

Joseph P. Jassey, Capt. (rtd)

Executive Consultant

West Atlantic Security Risk Assessment and Management