Quality, lifelong education for all which is accessible, inclusive and relevant to the individual, national and global needs and value systems.
Internal auditing is an independent, objective assurance and consulting activity designed to add value and improve an organization’s operations. It helps an organization accomplish its objectives by bringing a systematic, disciplined approach to evaluate and improve the effectiveness of risk management, control, and governance processes.
The Internal Audit Department at the Ministry of Education is responsible for reviewing the operational, strategic and financial internal controls at the Ministry of General Education, including reviewing all the respective Departments at Headquarters, Provinces, Districts and Schools.
INTERNAL AUDIT MANDATE
The internal Audit derives its authority and mandate from the Public Finance Management Act of 2018, Section 16 and 17. The Internal Audit Charter further provides authority and mandate to the internal audit department to report administratively to the Controlling Officer (PS Admin) and functionally to the Audit Committee. The department is also fully supported by the Controller of Internal Audit at the Ministry of Finance, who provides technical support and advice.
The Ministry has an Audit Committee, responsible for providing an oversight role and reviewing all matters raised in the Internal Audit reports. The Members from ZICA, LAZ, EAZ Professional institutes (IIA) and a former Public Officer with experience in Audit and accounting were appointed by the Secretary to the Treasury in January 2020 for three years and are expected to hold meetings at least quarterly.
There is also an Oversight Committee, an independent body chaired by the Deputy Secretary to the Cabinet. It is responsible for reviewing critical strategic issues noted in the Internal Audit reports, which remain outstanding at the end of every quarter. The introduction of the Oversight Committee has provided an additional reporting line that has provided a layer of transparency and independence in the reporting structure.
PROGRAMMES AND ACTIVITIES
Internal Audit prepares a risk-based internal audit work plan covering the GRZ programs and subprograms in the Ministry of Education.
Further, the internal audit unit provides services to donor-funded projects. These are Keep Girls in School (KGS) and Zambia Education Enhancement Project (ZEEP), both World Bank-funded projects.
The department also performs quarterly expenditure verifications and Payroll audits.
In the year under review, the main findings across the various reports included: non-compliance with rules and regulations, Misapplication of funds, uncollected school fees, inadequately supported expenditure, weak internal control systems and payment of ineligible allowances on the payroll.
Based on our assessment, the recurring themes of audit queries in the Ministry indicate a concern because there seems to be no effective closure of some audit issues. These will require providing practical recommendations to address the underlying root causes of the reported audit issues.