The National Council of Parent-Teacher Associations (NCPTAs) has called on the Ghana Education Service (GES) to immediately reverse the name Parent Association (PA) imposed on the organisation to its original name, Parent-Teacher Association (PTA).
The council said the new name was not the least welcomed as the generality of its members viewed it as an imposition.
“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 recognised that the Heads and Parent-Teacher Associations (PTAs) had always collaborated in the past in the prioritisation of projects and activities for execution in schools.
It was, however, not until 2013 that school heads were made signatories to PTA accounts following recommendations by the Auditor-General who deemed the PTA funds as public funds and needed to be subjected to audit.
It said in the recent past, there had been some developments within the operations of PTAs which thwarted the government’s efforts at ensuring universal access to education, specifically at the senior high school level.
In addition to some serious financial challenges in some schools, the GES said heads were directed by the Auditor-General and the Director-General of Ghana Education Service to get involved in the management of the finances of PTAs to restore sanity.
The National Council of PTAs said paragraphs 4 and 17 of the guidelines stood in sharp contrast and inconsistent in their view and that while guideline 4 “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.
The PTA, the letter said, was fully registered and had an apex body known as the National Council of PTAs and which structure comprised the School-Based, Zonal, Regional and National, with well-conditioned executives to steer and preside over the affairs of its members.
It described as unfortunate the proposed guidelines which took someone’s opinion that was being used to direct the affairs of a registered association.
“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 procedure 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.