Necessary rationalization of the public education system

The Minister of finance and economy – Mr. Bozidar Djelic, and the Minister of education and sports – Mr. Gaso Knezevic, held today, in the Big Hall of the Union Center, a conference with all the elementary and high schools directors from all over Serbia, in order to establish together a plan for the educational system rationalization. During the conference, the two ministers exposed the present achievements regarding the public education system, as well as the plans for the future.

Minister Djelic repeated that, since the Serbian Government was formed, the public education, the public health and the judiciary, were set as priorities, and that it will remain that way in the future. He also reminded that in October 2000, the average salary of the employees in the public education sector was 30 Euros, while last year it amounted 210 Euros in average – meaning that it was multiplied by seven, while the there was no such drastic changes the increase of the life standard costs.

The finance Minister added that a Protocol was signed on October 8th, in order to increase the net base for the calculation and payment of the salaries for those employed within elementary and high schools, and said to the public education sector employees that an increase of their revenues is still expected – but with no illusion to see it’s level attaining 400 Euros in the next couple of years.

He emphasized that the public education budget amounts 43.5 billion dinars, and that 92% of it is intended for the public sector salaries payment, 42% of which are paid to the employees in the public education.

Mr. Djelic also stated the information according to which, by 6 o’clock this morning, there was totally 2.8 billion dinars on all the Serbian schools accounts, 1.8 billion assigned from the budget, and the remaining one billion comes from the schools’ proper funds and resources. These amounts do not include the amounts planned for the salaries payment. The Minister also said that the schools are not banks, and that they should not keep their money on accounts, explaining to the present directors that they should use these funds for the purchase all that is necessary for their schools.

The Finance Minister announced a more rigorous financial control within the schools, and said that the inspection already carried
out revealed function irregularities in a certain number of schools.

He announced that additional efforts should be put in a more centralized salaries payment procedure within the public education sector than it is now, meaning that, from now on, the employees salaries will be paid by one single payment order – and directly onto their individual bank accounts.

The Finance Minister also said that the school; directors should no longer negotiate separately with the suppliers of the necessary school equipment, and that this procurement procedure should, in the future, be organized on the national level. In that way, the price would be lower, because of the greater quantity of ordered supplies, and, according to the minister’s terms – “the directors will no longer be bothered or blamed for having purchased from this supplier, rather than from that other one.” This idea was greeted with a big applause from the directors’ audience.