THE ROLES PARENT TEACHER ASSOCIATION (PTA) IN PRIMARY SCHOOLS IN NIGERIA
Background to the Study
The establishment of school in Nigeria is traceable to the early missionaries’ interventions that brought western educational practice (Fafunwa 1974, Taiwo, 1980). The Church Missionary Society (CMS), Methodist Missionary Society (MMS), Roman Catholic Mission (RCM) and United Presbyterian Church of Scotland and many others were simultaneously competitively embarking on evangelism through establishments of schools. These efforts doubled as converted
individuals, families and communities enthusiastically embraced western education, and latergovernment became fully involved having seen education as an effective tool for nationaldevelopment. In fact, the early missions provided the benchmark for establishment of schools inNigeria till date. In 1887, the first Nigeria education ordinance provided background forgovernment participation in funding education by providing grants; and education was pursued at
different developmental stages.The Phelps-Stokes report on education published in 1922 and 1925 memorandum and 1926 codepropelled educational development in Nigeria. Nevertheless, educational development becamesporadic from 1930 with adequate government participation till date. In light of all these, primary
school establishments have been in the past traced to missionary adventurers. A lot of missionschools still exist today with greater performances and some state governments have already started handing over these schools to original missions because of decreased quality in the publicschools. There is greater individual and corporate private interest in education as an investmentopportunity at all the educational levels, with more proliferations in the primary and secondary
levels which stern from the popular demand by the teeming population of Nigerians who nowsee education as an instrument for national development (Maduagwu, 2004).Two notable factors are presumed to have contributed to the proliferations of private schools. Avery high society pressure on education, such that effective demand for education is increasingas world population increases. Also the collapsing quality in public schools has pushed manyparents to seek for quality education in the private hands. These two factors have causalrelationships because as population increases, pressing needs on existing infrastructuresincreases which the public schools alone cannot accommodate for qualitative system of learning.Put differently, the best education is one that every society accepts as offering the acceptedvalues and virtues in changing the behaviour of the learner to be worthy in character and learning
at the end of the period.
The explosion on the population rate of school attending pupils at the primary school levelmanifested into the secondary school level. This increase affected government expenditures asmore schools and teachers are required. With this also, there is pressure on the tiny governmentresources allocated to education thereby affecting public school management that triggeredprivate investment in education. Maduagwu (2004) succinctly postulated amidst theseconceptions that private schools establishment promotes quality education, resulting in goodacademic performance, sound disciplinary and moral practices, and profit making by school
proprietors. In surmounting these challenges by private schools in education , government effortsis required for effective public school management in meeting the set out targets and goals ofeducation through known quality assurance process.
The first generation of primary schools in Nigeria was established and administered by the missionary bodieswith the first secondary school established in 1859 by the Church Missionary Society (CMS). The firstgovernment primary school, CMS Primary School,Lagos was established in 1899 (Adesina, 1984). According to Ajayi(1999), government’s participation in administration of primary schools increased considerably in 1903 whena department of education was established for the administration of education in the country. The author positedthat over the years, Nigerian governments have been playing a dominant role in primary school administrationparticularly in the areas of funding, provision of facilities, supervision, maintenance of standard among others.Abdullahi (1996) argued that in the 1960s when schools were not many in Nigeria, governments were able toeffectively fund education and only few Parent teacher Associations (PTAs) existed. However, with the advent ofnumerous problems in the education sector, it became necessary for most of the schools to have PTAs to assist in
solving the problems of the schools.
Parent teacher Association is a democratic organization which attempts to bring parents and teachers together inthe interest of the child (Ajayi, 1999). It is a formal link of communication on school matters between theteachers and parents. According to Oniyangi (2008), the meeting of this body serves as a forum for the exchangeof ideas between teachers and parents about school programmes towards the smooth running of the school andthe achievements of the goals of the school.
Abdullahi (1996) highlighted some aims and objectives the national PTA of Nigeria to include provision ofplatform for parents, guardians, sponsors, and teachers of students of Nigerian primary, secondary and tertiaryeducational institutions to meet, exchange views deeply, analyse issues, make recommendations, take andeffectively pursue implementation of decisions on matters affecting education in Nigeria with appropriateagencies. Cooperating with and support morally and financially various governments and agencies of educationto achieve high standard of academic performance, discipline, morality, service and integrity in Nigerian schools.
Besides, the author still argued that the PTA fosters mutual understanding, harmonious relationship and
cooperation among parents, guardians, sponsors, and teachers in the fulfillment of the common goals of theschool as well as ensures a suitable, uniform and high standard of discipline, both at home and at school amongothers.
There is no doubt that the performance of these roles will enhance better performance of the school system.However, it appears that the primary schools are still facing a myriad of problems in the country
STATEMENT OF THE PROBLEM
The current trend in many secondary schools in Ekiti State, with a particular references to Ikere local government area, tends to makes one to wonder if the P.T.A. is still making useful contributions to school management. A number of incidents like students going to school as late as 10.am; hanging about in school uniforms during school hours in obscure places; dilapidated structures in the schools; lack of libraries, well equipped laboratories, adequate classroom blocks and essential amenities (Uzoechina&Obidike, 2007), make it appear that the PTA has not been very useful in the management of school plant and raising the moral tone of the school. Some parents show indifference and disregard to the PTA. They remain weak and poorly linked in the chain, and have not accepted Parents- Teachers Association as an instrument for educational progress. Suchparents only pay the P.T.A levy when forced and go on to complain that the school administration extorts money from them. When meetings are conveyed, many teachers and fathers absent themselves, leaving only mothers or their house helps who might have nothing to contribute to the meeting. The extent to which such parents would contribute to school management is doubtful
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