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Regional News Wed, 3 Dec 2003

PTA fees necessary for running of schools- Chief

Cape Coast, Dec. 3, GNA- Nana Amoesi III, a member of the Parent-Teacher Association (PTA) of Adisadel College in Cape Coast on Wednesday said there was no need for the government to "interfere" with dues imposed by PTAs because the parents themselves decided on the levies to be paid for specific projects.

Nana Amoesi, who is also the chief of Efutu-Mampon, near Cape Coast, held that standards in schools could only be maintained with the help of PTAs and old students associations, with regard to the provision of facilities and equipment, since government was finding it difficult to shoulder the burden alone.

He was speaking in an interview with the GNA at Cape Coast in reaction to a directive by the Ministry of Education that second cycle schools should refund PTA dues exceeding 80,000 cedis to parents.

According to him, quality education could only be achieved if all stakeholders contribute, and that parents are prepared to contribute through the PTAs to ensure quality education for their wards. "The levies are not beyond our capabilities," he added.

Another parent, Mr Ato Andoh, Secretary to Swedru All Blacks football club, also said since most schools lacked adequate infrastructure, the PTAs must be given the free hand to operate.

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He, however, stressed the need to ensure that levies imposed are within the means of parents.

Two other parents - Ms Faustina Asante, a secretary and Mr Andrew Ekpale, the Cape Coast district accountant of the Internal Revenue Service - said PTAs took into consideration the quality of services rendered to students and the facilities needed before the levies are agreed upon.

Mr Ekpale, however, suggested that approval should be sought from the regional directorate of education before dues are added to school fees.

Many other parents interviewed were also of the view that levies imposed by the PTAs were necessary.

When contacted the regional chairman of the Conference of Heads of Assisted Secondary Schools (CHASS) and headmaster of Mfantsipim school, Mr Crosby Eshun, said the conference would soon meet to take a decision on the directive.

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He said the outcome of the meeting would be presented to the national body and thereafter dialogue with the sector minister.

Other school heads interviewed said it was too early to comment, but expressed concern that the government's subvention provided for the running of schools, was "woefully inadequate".

They said for instance government pays only 52,000 cedis for printing and stationery per term while postal and bank charges are 11,000 cedis each for the same period.

Mr Francis Amissah, headmaster of Saint Augustine's, said the PTA had built three units of flats for tutors and another three unit, which is nearing completion.

Source: GNA