Dr Haggar Hilda Ampadu
Dr Haggar Hilda Ampadu

No registration of schools without PTA — National Inspectorate Board

From September this year, private pre-tertiary educational establishments that do not have parent-teacher-associations (PTAs) will not be registered for operation, the National Inspectorate Board (NIB) has said.

The move, it said, was to involve parents in the decision-making processes of the schools.

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In an interview with the Daily Graphic, the Executive Director of the NIB, Dr Haggar Hilda Ampadu, said it was important to have such an important stakeholder as the PTA as it played a key role in the education of their children.

“For us education is a collaborative effort, and they (PTAs) are the key stakeholders in the institution and they should be included in how education is rendered to their children.

“If any school wants registration and certification, it would have to show evidence of its working PTA and not just the name,” she emphasised.

NIB

The NIB was established under the Education Act 778 of the 2008 Education Reforms. The act mandates the board to set up inspection panels to undertake inspection, to evaluate teaching and learning periodically and to set and enforce quality standards in public and private pre-tertiary institutions in Ghana.

It provides independent external evaluation of the quality and standards in pre-tertiary institutions by focusing on the quality of leadership and management of the school, the quality of teaching and learning and the standard of academic attainment; facilities available in schools and the relationship between a school and the community in which it is located.

Explanation of law

However, Dr Ampadu noted that before the implementation of the requirement to have PTAs in place, the board would do a lot of private school owners’ engagements to explain to them what it (requirement) entailed and the law backing it since most of them were not aware of it.

She stressed that all schools which did not have working PTAs would be impressed upon to do so as that would be the norm henceforth.

“We need to do the sensitisation because most of them are not aware of the law,” she said.

She said PTAs in themselves were not bad as they provided the opportunity for school authorities to be able to engage parents as a group to discuss issues with them.

Before November 2018, she said the registration and certification of pre-tertiary schools were done by the Ghana Education Service and that such responsibility had since been assigned to the NIB.

Inheritance

“We inherited the registration and certification of pre-tertiary schools from the Ghana Education Service in November 2018. In the Bill of the new Act coming up, we are responsible for that activity so we have taken it up. We found out in our first round of school inspection last year that most of the private schools did not have certificates and parents are left wondering how the schools are being run and the decisions being made,” she said.

She said when parents had questions, they did not know who to contact as a group.

“The school leadership does well by interacting with parents individually but when the parents want to approach the school as a group, they are not given audience per se. Now as part of the Education Act 778 Section 8 (1c), it says that the National Inspectorate Board sets and enforces standards that are to be observed in pre-tertiary institution in public and private in the country.

“One of the standards we have set is that for a school to operate in Ghana, it should have a PTA and to me it is not a bad thing, it is just being able to engage parents as a group,” she said.

School fees

Regarding the recent decision of private schools asking parents to pay fees because of online programmes although schools were not in session due to their closure following COVID-19, she said the NIB had received a lot of complaints from parents and guardians to that effect.

“We’ve gotten a lot of reports and we have met a lot of school owners and parent groups to do mediation,” she said, and encouraged school owners to sit with parents and discuss whatever issues they had.

For instance, she said parents from eight schools sent their petitions to the NIB for action.

In the course of the meeting with the schools, she said the board found out that they did not have PTAs.

“They don’t have any PTA or any form of engaging parents as groups and so some of the parents themselves have come together and formed PTAs on their own, which is not recognised by the school and that in itself is causing a lot of problems. We had to meet some of them here on a few occasions,” she said.

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