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BUDGETARY PRACTICES AMONG SECONDARY SCHOOL PRINCIPALS IN AFIKPO SOUTH EDUCATIONAL ZONE OF EBONYI STATE
The purpose of study was to investigate the budgetary practices among secondary school principals as regards financial management in Afikpo South Education Zone of Ebonyi State. The study specifically answered the procedures secondary school principal use in budget preparation, how secondary school administrators execute the budget of their schools in Afikpo South Education Zone of Ebonyi State. Descriptive survey design was used for the study. The population of the study comprised of all the 71 principals in the study area. The researcher used the entire population that is 71 principals as the sample of the study. Self structured questionnaire items were used for data collection, the data collected was analyzed using mean (x) scores. The findings of this revealed that budget preparation has a standard format in the zone and budget should be prepared every academic year. The study also found out that necessary school account books were found used in schools, budget is adopted before its administration, and that the principals are held to account for their responsibility. Finally, the study discovered that there are factors that affect budget operation which include noninvolvement of staff in budget preparation, inflationary character of goods and services and withdrawal of government subsidy in secondary school affect budget and expected income for the school is usually less than actual expenditure. The research recommended that proper planning and good administration systems in secondary schools should be strengthened to help principals identify the best budget preparation. The following conclusions where drawn that the budget preparation adopted by principals. Will either promote the school positively or negatively, hence this study should be considered during principal appointment. The study also recommend that principals in the public secondary schools in Afikpo South Zone education of Ebonyi State should be exposed regularly to the modern methods and techniques of budget preparation and administration trough organized workshops, seminars and conferences by government.
Background of the Study
School budgeting has historically been the process of balancing expenditures with reviews to affect changes in spending, a process policy makers view as constrictive. According to Roe in Ogbonnaya (2000) school budgeting is the translation of educational needs into financial plan which is interpreted to the public in such a way that when formally adopted. It expresses, the kind of educational programme, the community is willing to support financially and morally, for a particular period usually one year.
Based on this definition and given the uncertainty of financing public education, one cannot determine with any degree of certainty the level of funding that will be available for public education. If funds do not flow as anticipated, some needs may have to be deferred for future consideration. The task is then to match prioritized needs to projected financial resources.
Government describes its intention and policies which it would like to pursue during a particular budgeting year, against which it draws up a financial plan corresponding to this scheme of things. Such a financial plan contains the details of estimated receipts and also proposed expenditure and other disbursements under various heads (Bhalia 2000). Legislative arms of the government have used budget for effective functioning of the activities of the administrative branch of government.
As the processes of education, has become complex in terms of both content and services with education becoming, more popular at the same time, orderly, financial planning in schools must be well understood. Budgeting which is supposed, to be prepared at the beginning of each fiscal year as a guideline, is being drawn anytime the school need money from the state school board. Items are purchased, by the school as the need arises without any guide on how much to spend on a particular item. Principals do not involve staff in budget preparation.
According to Bendleburg, (2005), budget helps the planning of actual operations by forcing principals to consider how the conditions might change and what steps should be taken now and by encouraging principals to consider problems before they arise. It also helps to coordinate the activities of the organization by compelling principals to examine relationship between their own operations and those of other departments.
Okeke, Nosiri, Ekele, Ozurumba, Igwe ad Nwankwo (2004) stated that the principal of an individual secondary school is authorized, by the post primary school management, board administer the budget of his school. Okeke, Nosiri, Ekele, Ozurumba, Igwe and Nwankwo (2004) further state that this idea of the principal alone operating the budget is to make sure that the budget is kept in balance.
If many hands were to operate, the budget there might be over spending, oil certain item and no money will be left for other needs thereby making the educational programme unachievable. Afikpo South education zone budget document (2005/2006)< stipulates that some percentages of the school levies collected goes to the government purse while the principal budgets the remaining for his school activities.
Principals are authorized to use 80% of equipment fee, 50% of library fee for the purchase of sports wears, facilities, and equipment. The principals, can also apply for P.T.A. levies when there are challenges, erection of new building, and all capital project. The budget process can be broken down into various parts forming a cycle that repeats itself from year to year the budget is the fundamental documentation which all other aspects of the district’s financial operation are measured, the development, adoption and execution, of budget is really a year long process.
According to Gardner, (2004) the strategic, financial plan requires that policies, statements, and plans be linked, together. The mission of the school as well as goals, objectives, programmes site based goals and objectives out comes, and budget are used in conjunction to develop the strategic plan. When all these things are in place and liked together, justifying programmes may be easier.
The budget approval process seems to involve many people both in the school system and in the local town. Gardner (2004), further state that the budget is first developed, at the site level, each school developing their own budget, then it is passed on to the superintendent who approves the budget, allowing it to be passed on the school board who then approves if passing it along to the city level where it is presented, to the community and at-times voted on, depending on the community.
Financial management in schools has been of necessity due to increase in the demand for education. Hourigan (2003) stated that managing finances and assets is an essential part of the management standard criteria required, of principals in running their schools. As the number of enrollment in secondary schools increases, their financial application also increases there by demanding development of proper financial, system.
Education is no longer a government responsibility alone because, allocations are no longer given to secondary schools in recent years; individuals are now expected to bear the burden of their education. In Ebonyi State, secondary schools depend mainly on the school levies and other education levies usually paid by the student. The State Ministry of Education and the state school board control the finances of schools using school budget by principals of schools.
Budget estimates are made by the principals and passed through the accounting department of the state school board for approval. It is after such approval that the budget is put into action. The school budget therefore is an instrument for the financial, management of schools. It serves, the purpose of defining the programmes, and activities of the school system in terms of the amount of money, to be spent and how the money will be generated.
The basic function of the budget however, is to serve as an instrument for planning so that the educational programmes would not be interrupted due to lack of funds or depleted accounts. It should be noted that budgetary practices which means following repeatedly the process of preparation n, presentation and administration, and appraisal of the budget of schools at this period of limited financial resources calls for urgent attention. The attention not only to optimize, the use of the scarce financial resources, but also to ensure that the various inputs going into education are rationally managed based on the desired objectives.
Preparation of the budget, according to Adesina (1990), involves three major plans, educational plan which defines the policies of the school; its programmes and activities as well as other education services, the expenditure plan that translates each educational service into cost and the financial plan, which sets out the means of meeting the cost of educational programmes, and services.
If the budget is to have any meaning, it must be put in operation. Morphet (1981), stated that, a budget is not an effective instrument for implementing the educational programmes if it is field a way and referred to only at long interval. Morphet (1981) further state that programmes must be organized, persons must be purchased; building must be constructed, equipped, maintained, and operated; many types of service must be provided.
These and other things all cost money and unless the budget serves as a real guide there will be no money left for others. In the preparation and administration, of the school budget. There are some factors, which hinder its effective, operation as lack of skills and knowledge by principals, lack of seminars, and conferences to upgrade their knowledge, and lack of communication between, principal and other staff: These factors need to be addressed for effective, budget operation in schools. It is therefore the responsibility of the educational administrators to effectively, manage he various resources at their disposal, so that they can account, for their stewardship whenever, such is demanded of them.
PROJECT TOPIC- BUDGETARY PRACTICES AMONG SECONDARY SCHOOL PRINCIPALS IN AFIKPO SOUTH EDUCATIONAL ZONE OF EBONYI STATE
Statement of Problem
The importance of a budget cannot be over emphasized. It guides the behaviour of administrators within the school system. It prevents wastage or reckless spending of fund. Also serves, as a mechanism for planning and controlling educational activities. Unfortunately, information gathered from post management board shows that event within secondary schools in Abakaliki Education Zone with regard to budget indicates that there are weaknesses, in the budget making practices of secondary school principals.
For instance, the chief supervising principal of Abakaliki Education Zone had indicated some inefficiency of secondary, school principals in the execution, of the budget of their schools. The principals had themselves in a meeting, with the board in March 5, 2005 accused, officials of the board of not providing them with funds to prepare school budget. Gives the state of these criticisms it becomes necessary, to investigate the budget practices of secondary school principals in Abakaliki Education Zone.
Purpose of the Study
The main purpose of the study was to investigate budgetary practice of principals as regards financial management, in secondary schools of Abakaliki Kaliki Education Zone. Specifically this study:
Determined the procedures secondary school, principals use in budget preparation;
Identified the ways budget is being executed, in secondary schools; and
Found out the factors that budget operations, in school.
Significance of the Study
The result of this study will be of practical and theoretical significance to many individual, like principals, government and student etc. It is hoped that the study would, advance knowledge of principals in school budgeting. The study will help them to know the concepts, processes, and the models of ‘budgeting when published in journals, both local and international.
The study can be used as a source for further studies by helping new researchers, to see the gaps that has not been filled in the area of budgeting and based on that the researcher can make a case for new study.
This study will also help education stake holders, teacher, principals, educational policy makers, on matter affecting budgeting, it implications, and ways of improvement through the result and recommendations of the study. It will help to reiterate the factor that budgeting is a useful and strong tool for financial, management in schools. It will contribute to the already existing knowledge, in educational administration, by exposing students offering educational administration on the most current information on budgeting.
It will help principals to be acquainted with effective and official budget practice, because practice of budgeting, helps one to be aware of what to do in advance, how to get resources and match it with prioritized needs to meet education, goals and objectives. It will determine, the ways secondary school principals prepare and executed the budget of their schools. Through the recommendations of the study, Abakaliki Education Zone will be able to evaluate their budget document to determine its weaknesses and strength and make amends were necessary. Government as policy makers will benefit from this study. Recommendations as regards budget preparation, administration, factors that affect budget operations are dealt with in this study. This will help the government in formulating effective fiscal policy for schools.
The significance of this study is particularly, in the area of curriculum development. The result will be of immense benefit to be educational curriculum experts. They will find it valuable especially in the area of educational administration for improvement, in what is being taught.
Scope of the Study
This study was carried out among all the secondary school principal in Abakaliki Education Zone. Abakaliki Education Zone is made up of Abakaliki, Ebonyi, Izzi and Ohaukwu Local Government Areas. The content, scope will cover the preparation, administration, and appraisals of budget in schools.
The following research questions guided the study:
What are the procedures secondary school principals adopt in budget preparation?
How does secondary school administrators; execute the budget of their schools?
What are the factors that affect budget operations, in schools?
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