This study was designed to appraise budgetary practices in grant-aided
secondary schools in North Central, Nigeria. Specifically the study sought to;
find out the extent procedures of budget preparation by the principals and the
bursars complies with school budget guidelines, determine the extent budget
estimates of principals are prepared in accordance with budget guidelines,
ascertain the extent budgetary provisions by principals are in accordance with
budget guidelines among others. Five research questions and four null
hypotheses guided the study. Descriptive survey design was employed. A 43-
item questionnaire was administered to 568 respondents, composing 284
principals and 284 bursars drawn from 284 grant-aided secondary schools.
Documentary evidences were used in order to obtain qualitative information on
the responses of the subjects. Mean scores and standard deviations were used to
answer research questions while the z-test statistic was used to test the null
hypotheses at 0.05 Alpha levels. The study found among other ones that
Principals’ budgetary estimates to a great extent follow laid down budget
guidelines. However principals and bursars disagreed on the proposition that no
expenditure may be incurred outside estimates except on the authority of a duly
signed warrant. The procedures used for budget preparation by principals and
bursars to a great extent comply with budget guidelines. The adequacy of
budgetary provisions by the principals to a great extent conform with the laid
down school budget blue prints, even though Board of Governors do not readily
approve alternative sources of funds sought for by principals. Principals to a
little extent use formalized monitoring strategies to ensure compliance with
budget provisions by the heads of departments. Factors that inhibit principals’
compliance with budget guidelines include; delay in budget approval by the
Ministry of Education and Schools Board, Principals neglect the opinions of
their subordinates in budget preparation, Principals do not make financial reports
available to heads of departments and heads of units after monitoring visit for
their future guide, officers who did not adhere to budget guidelines were not
queried. The inability of state governments to subsidize the cost of secondary
education affects budgetary practices of principals. Based on the findings and
implications of the study therein, the following recommendations are made;
Principals and bursars of secondary schools should be trained regularly on how
to adhere and comply strictly with the budget guidelines. Principals are to
monitor budgetary processes in their schools by setting up budget monitoring
committee among the members of the staff. The state Boards should ensure that
warrant of expenditure is issued to the principals at the beginning of every
session early enough to avoid financial discrepancies that could affect teaching
and leaning in grant-aided secondary schools.


Background of the Study

The importance of effective budgetary practices at all levels of economy has
for long been the major concern of many educationists, economists and
politicians. This is because effective budgetary practices reflect the focus of
administrators’ expenditure and revenue for major development in any financial
year. Aguba (2009) believed that a budget is a financial blue print for the
operation of organization, including the school system, for the fiscal year. In
consonance with this, Ogbonnaya (2005) defined a budget as the financial
statement of the proposed expenditure and expected revenue of the government,
public corporations, or educational institutions for a particular period of time.
Budget, therefore is an itemized summary of estimated or intended
expenditures for a given period along with proposals for financing organizational
programmes necessary for the attainment of pre-determined objectives. Budget
is expected to control wastage and extravagant spending in grant-aided
secondary schools.

School budget is an established financial standard needed to consciously
guide the activities of a school administrator towards the attainment of the aims
and objectives of the school in a given fiscal year (Ayodele, 2006). This position
is in line with the United States General Accounting office report in 1998 when
it asserted that school budgeting had historically been the process of balancing
expenditure with revenue to effect changes in spending, a process policy makers

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