In the town of Pizcuno, the nearest school house is about three hours walking distance in the mountains. In this educational institution attend 21 students Monday through Friday, where they receive breakfast, lunch, a snack, and dinner. The Auditor General of Salta noted, both on this school as well as on five others, "the successful completion of the funding for School Lunch" despite the endless difficulties that teachers encounter when carrying out objectives.

Salta signed in 2010 the National Food Security Plan which aims "to finance actions aimed at ensuring food security of people living in social vulnerability attending school cafeterias", giving priority to those who are in a weaker socioeconomic, geographical, and food status. It’s the Ministry of Social Development of the Nation who delivers budgetary reinforcement.

For the period under review, the year 2010, "the national funds –of the Ministry of Social Development award the grants- they financed 370 educational institutions with 28,800 children" in different grade levels (initial level, elementary, middle, and high school, some with common dorms and others with permanent ones)." According to the audit, this funding complements those given by the provincial government. 

The schools on which the analysis was performed "are located in the Department of the Andes" and "are nestled in the middle of the Andean foothills, they lack public transportation and basic services." The report detailed that access to the educational institutions means having to walk "along routes that during certain times of the year become impassable to walk through, even though they receive constant maintenance." The Audit’s investigation indicates that this situation "makes it difficult for teachers to reach the school as well as the supplies." For example, "because of the distances between the sites, the cost of shipping directly affects the purchase price of the products increasing them as well."

The Salta watchdog witnessed how in this rigorous territory, more than 40% of the population has their basic needs unsatisfied because of extreme weather conditions and severe accessibility problems, "the Provincial School Nutrition Plan had a satisfactory performance in terms of the recipients, distribution, and subsequent transfer to local educational funding for School Lunch prepared by the Government. "Regarding the assessment of the extent of social objectives, the auditors indicated that "satisfactorily having found a real way to reach children and adolescents."

After analyzing six schools, the audit kept the same observations: "The food processing system meets the guidelines of hygiene and handling." They also agreed that "the Director –of each establishment- grants space that meets the security, hygiene, ventilation, and adequate moisture levels as established by the Ministry of Education of the Province".

How are the schools?

In school No. 4332 of Pocitos "the director is the only teacher, when she is absent because she has paperwork required by the existing rules, the school closes for the day, which means the cafeteria closes as well." Located 110 kilometers from San Antonio de los Cobres, the entrance is "by gravel road." The school is made of revoked adobe and has a tin roof with a ceiling. 15 children attend (one goes to kindergarten), they live around the school and receive breakfast and lunch.

The educational unit No. 5025 is located in San Antonio de los Cobres, 164 kilometers from the City of Salta, at an altitude of nearly 3,650 meters above sea level. The houses "are made with adobe, thatched roofs, and mud. The wide temperature range provides night temperatures ranging from 0 to -3 degrees Celsius and during the day it can reach 42ºC". 50 students attend the school, all of whom receive four daily meals.

School No. 4565 located in Santa Rosa de los Pastores, "is built from volcanic rock, and has made improvements on the traditional materials by adding a tin roof and ceilings." 37 students attend the school, 9 of which go to kindergarten and 25 stay in dorms. The watchdog also visited School No. 4600 and No. 4622, located at 4000 and 3525 meters above sea level. These properties can only be accessed by a gravel road. The first school has 83 students; the second has 48, five of which attend kindergarten.

How Does The Money Reach The Province? 

The report published this year explained that the "budget plan allocated different amounts to each Education Unit because it is calculated based on school enrollment, the number of working days of the month, and the operating mode (regular school day with refreshments, regular school day with lunch or a full day (which includes morning and afternoon shifts). Each school is assigned a checking account to which the funds are transferred to for the cafeteria. The school Principal is responsible for the collection, management, and accountability of funds. "

What Did The Audit Recommend? 

Only two observations were made by the Audit. The first was that "the Principals of the schools do not present their accountabilities within the required deadlines, mainly because of geographical inconveniences, lack of public transport and the complexity of the routes and access to the locations". The audit of Salta recommended "that the provincial Ministry of Education should develop a system that would facilitate paperwork procedures."

Furthermore, it was noted that "by not having debit cards, school Principals will withdraw all the money –of the grant- in the City Capital, with the risks inherent in that situation considering the distance with the schools." In this regard, the auditors recommended "that the Ministry of Education take the necessary safety measures in the transfers and withdrawal of funds by adopting, for example, the form of debit cards because in San Antonio de Cobres there is ATM".