The Public Interest and Accountability Committee, PIAC has asked the Ghana Education Service, GES to lift the ban on the direct involvement of the Parent-Teacher Associations in SHS infrastructure development.
The GES during the implementation of the Free SHS policy by government curtailed the payment of PTA dues as it was considered a financial burden on parents.
PIAC in their Free SHS implementation report said the decision has deprived many schools of the needed additional infrastructure.
“While the Ghana Education Service moratorium on the operations of Parent-Teacher Associations may have been well intended, this has deprived schools of the additional infrastructure that the PTAs traditionally provide. Most of e developmental projects that the PTAs initiated have been abandoned.”
They maintain that PTAs must be allowed to operate outside the school structure or as a voluntary organisation to help bring infrastructure development to the various schools in the country.
Speaking to Citi FM by PIAC believes the is there need for the GES to lift the ban on the activities of the PTAs, Mark Agyemang, PIAC’s Technical Manager said most of the projects initiated by the PTAs before the implementation of the Free SHS policy have been abandoned.
“But there should be a system in place where PTAs can function independently outside the school structure, so now that this ban is on PTA we are saying that it should be lifted so that PTA can function and help the schools with infrastructure development..”
PIAC also in the report observed that despite the gains recorded in the implementation of the Free Senior High School policy, some challenges remain outstanding.
According to PIAC, the Free SHS policy has resulted in a timelier reporting of students to school, compared to the period preceding Free SHS.
“Students no longer have to wait for school fees to be provided them before reporting to school,” PIAC observed.
On the supply of textbooks for Core Subjects, PIAC said they were provided in adequate quantities, albeit late in some instances.
The Free SHS programme has also led to increased enrollment in 41 percent of the schools PIAC visited, the report said, wrote adding that the enrollment of girls, in particular, has increased.
On the quality and timeliness of supplies, PIAC observed that “poor quality and unwholesomeness of some supplies, delays in supply of food and other items, and under or oversupply of some food items and provisions were pretty widespread.”
“The abolition of cut-off grades in the admission of students has led to a situation of dumping of poor-grade students in schools, particularly deprived schools,” the report said.
One of the major concerns PIAC observed textbooks for elective subjects were not covered by the policy.
“However, this has not been clearly communicated to parents by government, leading to a situation where some parents are refusing to take responsibility for the purchase of these textbooks for their wards. This situation is negatively impacting on the quality of teaching and learning in the schools,” they wrote.