An investigation into the effectiveness of finance committees at schools
Makiri, Ntombizodwa Moudrick
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This study intended to explore the effectiveness of finance committees at schools. A qualitative design, using interviews with purposely selected participants made up of fifteen school principals and ten finance officers in the Sedibeng Districts of the Gauteng Department of Education was used for data collection. This was aimed at exploring how effective school finance committees are and to recommend ways of improving their effectiveness in executing their financial management function. The literature study exposed the conceptual framework and essence of the functional effectiveness of school finance committees, which laid the basis for the empirical study. The empirical study was based on the social constructivist paradigm with the phenomenological approach as the strategy of enquiry. Findings of the study indicate that school finance committees are generally structured in line with policy directives. It was also found that the performance and attitudes of office-bearers of finance committees affected the effectiveness of finance committees. Firstly and for various reasons, principals as ex-officio members generally played a dominant role in finance committees. Reasons include their perceived ‘high‘ level of knowledge regarding financial management and the lack of knowledge and skills of other finance committee members to execute their responsibilities. Secondly, finance committee effectiveness was found to be negatively affected by poor budgetary processes – from the planning process to the implementation and monitoring, which include weaknesses in financial administration and reporting as well as evaluation of the budget implementation process. As a result, the management of funds was often characterised by budget variances and the need for virement. Recommendations of the study address the need for intensive capacity-building for finance committee members in specific areas of their roles and functionality. This must be accompanied by constant monitoring by Departmental development and support officers responsible for school governance. In this regard, there must be a feedback and system that enables corrective action to be taken as soon as signs of poor performance emerge. Finally, it is recommended that the structure of the finance committee be reviewed, especially as it concerns office-bearers. In this regard, it is recommended that finance officers be charged with the responsibility of financial administration and not double up as secretaries of school governing bodies.
- Education 
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