Dechen Dolkar  

The Department of School Education (DSE) made an excess payment for tuition fees of around Nu 4.64M to private schools for the first term of this academic year.

The government initiated the scholarship to enrol all class X passed students into class XI in government and private schools. The approved government scholarship fee is Nu 40,000 for every day scholar and Nu 70,000 boarder student for one academic year.

Kuensel learnt that the audit reviewed and verified tuition fees paid to 15 out of 21 private schools in the country.

It was found that excess payments and double payments were mainly due to the payment of tuition fees to those students who had not reported to schools at all after enrolling, not reported after the mid-term and annual exams, and paid to two different schools for the same student when the student changed school.

Kuensel learnt that the private school division under DSE had made double payment of scholarship fees amounting to around Nu 3.84M to Kuendrup High School, Gelephu in May this year. The two payments were made within a week.

It was learnt that the invoice was prepared by two different officials and approved and verified by the same person for payment of tuition fees to the school.

It was pointed out that the officials processing and approving the payments had not exercised due diligence.

Further, it was pointed out that the owner of the private school lacked integrity by not reporting on double payments. The DSE awas asked to recover extra payment with applicable interest and deposit it into Audit Recoveries Account (ARA).

However, the proprietor of Kuendrup High School said that the issues have been resolved between the department and the school. It will be considered as payment for the second term.

The proprietor said that since they didn’t receive the payment on time and they informed the department to release the payment. “The payment was transferred from BoB to BNB account which took time to credit in my account.”

The proprietor claimed that the accountant who prepared the first payment was on leave and another account prepared the second payment.

It was also learnt that on reconciliation of the total payments of tuition fees with that of the student’s academic transcript, the excess payments of Nu 798,500 were made to 10 private schools.

It was found that despite non-reporting and dropping from the schools, the DSE had continued making payments to those students.

The Royal Audit Authority (RAA) had also raised the issue of excess payment to private schools amounting to Nu 1.69M during the last audit.

It was pointed out that the recurrence of the same issue is an indication that the DSE had not complied with the RAA’s recommendations. Such non-compliance is highly irregular and needs to be justified besides the recovery of Nu 798,500 into ARA account.

According to RAA officials, these are preliminary figures and are subject to change. The official said that they are still in the process of confirming and it may be early to comment.