The PEAs want the DEM to account for money which was factored into the 2012/13 and 2013/14 budgets considering that no one was paid for monitoring the Primary School Improvement Programme (Psip).
The 17-point petition dated January 28 2014 and signed by all 12 PEAs in the district, among other concerns, asks the education manager to explain how money meant for zonal improvements was utilised.
The district education office, according to the petitioners, received K6.9 million (about $17 250) for zonal improvements but the PEAs say only K400 000 (about $1 000) has been utilised.
Reads the petition in part: “Zones in Salima lost K3 900 000 (about $9 750) which was not paid to them [PEAs] for monitoring Psip in schools. We wonder where all those funds were used for and we need an explanation.
“Furthermore, the 2013/14 budget shows that K6 900 000 was allocated as ZIG. Six months down the line, only K400 000 has been paid to the zones in total. Our fear is therefore, that are we not going to face the same scenario this financial year.”
The disgruntled PEAs are also demanding a clarification from the DEM on why they receive fuel allocation of five to eight litres a month which they claim is far too little to fulfil their mandate.
“We have learnt that the accountant went on posting i.e. reported at his new station and carried his goods to the new place. But we are surprised to see him in the office whenever funding has come. Is that normal? We need to be educated on this. As PEAs, we already lost trust in him because we feel all the mess we are experiencing is because of him,” reads the petition.
The petition also alleges that the accounts department uses teachers’ names to withdraw money without the knowledge of the concerned teachers and the PEAs who are the supervisors.
“Who generates the lists for payment of double shift allowances yet we as PEAs are not aware of any school conducting the activity. But also there are teachers who worked on double shifts sometime back but they haven’t received their dues despite giving the accounts lists of such teachers?,” it claims.
Salima DEM Christopher Kumikundi confirmed receiving the petition but refused to take more questions saying he was travelling to Kasungu.
“Yes, I have received the petition, but I can’t take more questions. I am travelling so I can’t take anymore question,” he said.
The petitioners have threatened to take unspecified action if the education manager does not address their grievances although they have not given specified timeframe.