Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Staff ‘swamped’ with paperwork

Staff ‘swamped’ with paperwork

Staff ‘swamped’ with paperwork

A progressive budgeting policy used by the Education Ministry has overloaded local administrators with paperwork for which they often lack the expertise, according to a new report, which found the system was less efficient in 2014 than the year before.

Released by the NGO Forum, and funded by Save the Children, the study analysed the Education Ministry’s program-based budget (PB) for 2014 – about $42.5 million of the total $330 million budget.

Though the PB system – which was extended this year to include the entire education budget of $391 million, and that of nine other ministries – had produced “concrete progress” in spending efficiency, it had also increased the bureaucratic burden for those at the bottom, the report found.

“It is a good thing to move to program-based budgets, but one not-so-favourable consequence of that is the amount of paperwork that the school level and district level have to meet; they have to produce a lot of reporting both on the expenditure and on the result,” said researcher Pak Kimchoeun.

Partially implemented in 2007 to improve efficiency and accountability, the PB system allocates specific sums of cash that can only be spent in certain areas and cannot be rolled over to the next financial year.

For education, until 2015, this covered mainly operational costs for schools.

Last year, only 82 per cent of the total PB was spent compared to 93 per cent in 2013, the report found.

But the drop was largely because the ministerial level had “problems with procurement” rather than schools getting worse at spending.

Local accounting staff faced a number of challenges in implementing the policy, not least of which was the lack of computer skills among grassroots civil servants, many of whom are nearing retirement age.

Problems also arose from the system’s rigidity and mismatches between schools’ needs and their allocations.

The checks and balances also impacted the timeliness of fund disbursements to schools, something Battambang education department director Ngy Seth attested to.

“When the PB came late, teachers found it hard to run their class, and this partly affected their teaching as well.”

This year, the ministry has plans to further streamline the process, including by transferring funds to districts via banks to increase efficiency.

MOST VIEWED

  • Cambodia maintains 'Kun Khmer' stance despite Thailand’s boycott threat

    Cambodia has taken the position that it will use the term "Kun Khmer" to refer to the sport of kickboxing at the upcoming Southeast Asian (SEA) Games, and has removed the term Muay from all references to the sport. Despite strong reactions from the Thai

  • Artificial insemination takes herd from 7 to 700

    Some farms breed local cows or even import bulls from a broad for the purpose of breeding heavier livestock for meat production. One Tbong Khnum farmer has found a more efficient way. Hout Leang employs artificial insemination to fertilise local cows. Thanks to imported “straws”

  • Chinese group tours return to Cambodia starting Feb 6

    Cambodia is among 20 countries selected by Beijing for a pilot programme allowing travel agencies to provide international group tours as well as flight and hotel packages to Chinese citizens, following a three-year ban. As the days tick down until the programme kicks off on February 6,

  • Capital-Poipet express rail project making headway

    The preliminary results of a feasibility study to upgrade the Phnom Penh-Poipet railway into Cambodia’s first express railway indicate that the project would cost more than $4 billion and would take around four years to complete. The study was carried out by China Road and

  • Thai boxers to join SEA Games’ Kun Khmer event

    The Cambodian SEA Games Organising Committee (CAMSOC) – together with the Kun Khmer International Federation (KKIF) and Khmer Boxing Federation – have achieved a “great success” by including Kun Khmer in the upcoming biennial multi-sports event on its home soil for the first time, said a senior

  • Bullets to bracelets: Siem Reap man makes waste from war wearable

    Jewellery is often made from valuable gemstones like emeralds or diamonds and precious metals like gold or silver, or valueless things like animal horns. But a man in Siem Reap has approached the manufacture of delicate pieces from a different angle. His unique form of