The Ghana Education Service, GES, says it is unable to lift the ban on the direct involvement of the Parent-Teacher Associations in Senior High School infrastructure development.
Public Relations Officer at the GES, Cassandra Twum Ampofo, explains that until a committee which is tasked to look into the activities of PTAs completes its work, the ban will still be in force.
The Public Interest and Accountability Committee (PIAC) had earlier asked education authorities to lift the ban to enable PTAs to assist schools to meet their infrastructure needs.
But Cassandra Twum Ampofo, said although the ban is in place, charity projects that will not burden students are welcomed.
“If any group or individual wants to help a school, GES will allow them to go ahead and do it. What is important to us is that their activities should not affect teaching and learning. No students should be sacked or suffer from PTA dues or any activities of parents in the school. Until the committee is done with what they are working on, we can not lift that suspension.”
PIAC observed in its Free SHS implementation report that the move has deprived many schools of the needed additional infrastructure.
Technical Manager at PIAC, maintained that the PTAs must be allowed to operate within the school structure albeit as voluntary organizations.
“There should be a system in place where the PTA can function independently outside the school system. So now that there is this temporary ban on the PTA, we want the ban to be lifted so that the PTA can function to help the schools.”
When the Free Secondary Education policy started, there were complaints that schools had been charging PTA levies to cover items like mosquito nets, brooms, hoes and other implements.
Regional and district directors of education have also been put on alert to keep a closer eye on second cycle schools.
According to the GES, this is to enable them to streamline and review all such levies in all second cycle schools
The Director-General of the GES, Prof. Kwesi Opoku Amankwa, told the Daly Graphic that his outfit was concerned with the proliferation of all manner of levies under the guise of PTA dues.
“These levies are defeating the objective of the government in removing cost as a barrier to secondary education in Ghana,” he said
Prof. Amankwa said, “pending the streamlining and review of all these levies, it is the expectation of the management that heads of schools and PTA executives will cooperate in this exercise to ensure that the free SHS programme is successfully implemented.”