25 Aug 2004

US education officials to assess the American Samoa education service next month

5:17 pm on 25 August 2004

A team of American education officials will arrive in American Samoa soon to check on its progress in meeting US financial accounting requirements.

American Samoa's failure to provide audited financial statements from 1998 until 2002 has led the US Education Department to give it a high-risk status.

The department says the lack of audits hampers American Samoa's ability to properly administer federal grants and to provide education.

Correspondent Monica Miller says the team, to arrive on September 13, will not conduct a witchhunt.

"It'll be looking at what the Government has done as far as correcting, or completing, the reports that have been missing. And they're also going to look at accountability issues and see where federal funding is being spent on and whether the programme rules for the different areas -- programmes and services, educational services that the US Department of Education is funding -- that these funds are being spent for what they were intended for."

Monica Miller says the team will help American Samoa meet a reporting standard that's viewed as strict.