The Public Interest and Accountability Committee (PIAC) wants the Ghana Education Service (GES) to lift the ban on the collection of Parent-Teacher Association (PTA) dues.
This, according to PIAC, will ameliorate infrastructural development in schools.
GES in 2019 suspended the payment of PTA dues under the free Senior High School (SHS) policy, over claims that it was a financial burden on parents.
But PIAC observed in its Free SHS implementation report that the move has deprived many schools of the needed additional infrastructure.
For instance, the PTA of the Presbyterian Boys’ Senior High School, Legon, (PRESEC) has admitted that the ban has stalled major infrastructural projects in the school.
Technical Manager at PIAC, Mark Agyemang on the Point Blank segment of Eyewitness News 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 Daily 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.”
GES council adds voice
The Council Chairman of the GES, Michael Nsowah, warned that the management of the GES would sanction heads of SHSs/TVET who meddle in PTA activities.
“Heads of SHSs are once again warned that in no circumstance are they to get involved in the collection of PTA dues and levies.”
He urged all students to report to school without reference to PTA activities such as dues and levies.
The free SHS policy covers an item called teacher motivation, which the government indicated was to cater for the needs that are often taken care of with PTA levies.
On PTA dues, he said schools could not ask first-year students to pay PTA dues “because PTA dues are fixed when parents meet the school authorities to determine what kind of help they (parents) can give to the school”.