The Ghana Education Service (GES) has been urged to promptly revert the name Parent Association (PA) that was forced on the organisation to its original name, Parent-Teacher Association (PTA), by the National Council of Parent-Teacher Associations (NCPTAs).
The majority of the council’s members felt that the new name was an imposition, thus they were not at all happy with it.
“Our attention has been drawn to your attached letter dated January 4, 2024 in addition to guidelines to Parent Associations.”
“The PTAs, therefore, seek immediate reversal of the imposed name,” a letter dated January 9, 2024, and signed by the National President of the NCPTAs, Christian Atsu Aikins, said.
The letter was addressed to the Director-General (DG) of the GES, Dr Eric Nkansah. The GES has received a copy of the letter, checks by the Daily Graphic indicate.
The letter followed the development of guidelines for students and PAs.
The guidelines acknowledged that in the past, Heads and Parent-Teacher Associations (PTAs) had consistently worked together to prioritise projects and activities that were carried out in schools.
However, school heads were not included as signatories to PTA accounts until 2013, as a result of the Auditor-General’s proposal that the PTA monies be considered public funds and therefore be audited.
It stated that certain changes in PTA operations in the recent past had impeded government efforts to provide universal access to education, particularly for senior high school students.
The Ghana Education Service (GES) noted that in addition to some very serious financial difficulties in certain schools, heads had received orders from the Director-General and the Auditor-General to become involved in PTA financial management in order to bring order back.
But the National Council of PTAs said much as the content was generally welcomed, “we write to notify you about the intention to change our dear association’s name, from PTA to PA,” it said.
Furthermore, it said paragraphs four and 17 of the guidelines stood in sharp contrast and inconsistent in their view and that while guideline four “prescribes autonomy for the association, guideline 17 circumvents and gives it to the Director-General and school management via submission of copies of audited accounts and quarterly reports respectively for approvals”.
PTAs, it said, had existed over the years and that the organisation had contributed to the government’s efforts in the past years and continued successively only to ensure that students got inclusive, quality and relevant education.
“In fact, the same 1992 Constitution of Ghana you quoted, Articles 15,16 and 18 mandate freedom of association. Parents/guardians leave their children under the care of teachers and in whole, headmasters/headmistresses with school management at the pre-tertiary levels, if not in all the basic schools.
“It is important and forthright to note that parents cannot do without the assistance of teachers in each school. It is significant to realise that besides teachers being parents biologically, their duty as caretakers of our children/wards imposes parenthood on them, hence, by extension, they are also a parent,” it said.
According to the letter, the PTA was duly established, with the National Council of PTAs serving as its apex body. Its organisational structure included school-based, zonal, regional, and national branches, each headed by a well-trained executive who oversaw the activities of its members.
The suggested guidelines, which took someone’s viewpoint and utilised it to manage the business of a recognised association, were viewed as regrettable.
“As a stakeholder in education, please be mindful, that, though parents cannot educate their wards at home, they remain absolute owners of their children/wards”.
“It is parents’ responsibility to ensure that their children are well trained and or educated. Any misgiving by our members is fully under consideration by the apex body but to exclude your employed teachers from the association is a violation of their constitutional rights likewise the issuance of an illegal PA guideline,” the NCPTAs said.
The council further urged the GES to set aside the guidelines for further engagement with the NCPTAs for an all-inclusive, good and effective procedures that would be accepted by all.
The PTAs national council said it was not time to “demean or intimidate” anyone helping the course of parenting and children’s education in Ghana”.
It said one person gave birth but many educate and that the GES and PTA should never be seen as rivals as they worked together to ensure the total well-being of children.
“We should work hand in hand to fulfil the provisions in Article 25 (1) (e) and Article 28(1) (a) & (c) of the 1992 Constitution of Ghana.
“We have enjoyed cordialities and have done many projects without which access and quality of education would not be as it is now,” it said.
It said its team would like to meet with the Director-General of the GES at his earliest convenience to streamline the guidelines in order to ensure that GES employees had the free will to stay away or join and maintain their support to the association.
It said teachers shall be members but would not be involved in the association’s funds collections.
The PTAs National Council said students shall continue to be absent from the association even though they shall remain the upmost beneficiaries and that no student would be sacked or penalised because his or her parent did not pay the association’s contribution.
It said infrastructure and other needs of the school provided by the government and GES would be complemented by the PTAs, but within their financial capacity.
Subscribe to this blog and follow us on facebook