ISLAMABAD - A special audit report on Basic Education Community Schools (BECS) Project under the National Education Foundation that reviewed its operations and utilisiation of funds over the period 2002-03 to 2007-08 has unearthed irregularities in supervision of NGOs, financial spending and appointment. The report reveals that NGOs that were hired to monitor the activities of community schools and report issues, if raised any, to the project management some of them were not monitoring school activities for assessing the students command over subjects and their academic achievements. None of the NGOs was submitting quarterly progress reports and quarterly statement of expenditure to project management. In few schools, literacy material and teaching aid was not distributed and teachers had to collect the material from NGO offices by themselves and in some cases the students were forced to purchase the missing books at their own expense from market as NGO representatives were not distributing the text books handed over to them. The report termed the supervision of the schools by the NGOs and operation of the s 430 schools in Balochistan doubtful as lists of supervisors of NGOs for monitoring was not available for verification and monitoring reports, lists of teachers and other relevant record was also not produced to audit. The report recommended to give the control of BEC Schools to NEF supervisors. The minimum honorarium for a matriculate teacher was Rs. 3000 per month thus total expenditure on salaries of teachers in 430 schools in Balochistan amount to Rs 15.48 million on which the report express reservations. The report also expressed its doubt on operations of BEC Schools in District Pishin as verification of activities of NGOs in 5 randomly selected schools divulged that only two schools were operational and only one school had teaching and learning material. No NGO had any supervisor and only head of the NGO used to visit the school once in a month. Conditions in three schools were very poor and none of the school showed academic progress. The BECS Project was designed in 1995 to bring change in the life of children who do not have opportunity to get enrolled in formal education system. It was aimed at extending support to the poor children to improve their educational status by providing free literacy material and teaching facility besides reducing poverty by providing job opportunities to disadvantaged women. Its also important to mention here that in the pretext of devolution the provinces had refused to accept the project so the federal government had decided to wind up the project but the days-long protest and sit-in of thousands of teachers and employees working under the project compelled the government to give a one-year extension to the project. The special audit report highlighted that the record was not produced to audit by the Provincial Projects Offices of Sindh and Balochistan regarding the release of Rs 313.59 million for the years 2002-03 to 2006-07 that limited the scope of audit and impeded accountability and transparency. The PPO Sindh asserted that the record is available with Education Department of Provincial Government of Sindh while PPO Balochistan stated that the record of physical assets, bank reconciliation statement, old cheque books, cheque counterfoils, stock registers, cashbooks etc is not available for verification of audit, the report said. Audit noted that during the period from 2002-03 to 2005-06, Rs. 264.28 million were released to Executive District Officers (EDOs) in 34 Districts of Punjab under the heads 'Teachers Salary and 'Supervisory Cost. But EDOs had not submitted the adjustment accounts at the close of the financial year, therefore, neither the actual expenditure was available nor the details of unspent balance were shown to audit. The audit report informed that the revised PC-I envisaged establishment of 20,000 BEC Schools, 2500 Literacy and Skill Development Centers and conversation of 400 BEC Schools into formal primary schools. But from 2007-08 to 2009-10 only 5834 schools were established against the target of 10733 whereas 9267 were already established during the period of 1995-2007. About 1206 LSD Centers were established against the target while no BEC School was converted to formal schools. And 70 percent of enrollment target of the students was achieved that was set up to 80, 0000 till 2010. However, the report also accepted that project suffered due to delay in release of funds and due to slow release of funds, project activities proposed in PC-I could not be carried out within the stipulated period and overall project performance remained unsatisfactory. It also highlighted that the government accorded low funding priority to the project in annual PSDP provision with respect to PC-I cash plan as only 22.6 percent of the funds were actually released. Total Rs.33.17 billion were released from 1995 to 2008 against the pledged allocations of Rs. 14.67 billion in PC-I that adversely affected the achievements and objectives of the project. The audit held that the provincial and district offices have been established parallel to the provincial and district offices of the provincial governments flouting the decision of a meeting chaired by the Prime Minster that resulted in excess expenditure of Rs. 69.74 million in the year 2007-08 and 2008-09 on the establishment of provincial and district offices for the implementation of the project. The report revealed that the management purchased 68 vehicles, 50 motorcycles and literacy aid material including 20,000 wall clocks, educational charts, attendance register and general register, 8400 matts for ICT and 6000,000 pencils and literacy material for Adult Literacy and Skill Development Programme in access of actual requirements during financial year 2007-08 that caused the loss of Rs. 29.56 million to the national exchequer.