1.1 BACKGROUND OF THE STUDY
Parent involvement is a salient predictor of students’ success (Million, 2003). In fact, many researchers suggest that parent involvement positively impacts students’ achievement, attendance, attitudes, behavior, graduation, and life goals (Burke, 2001 and Belenardo, 2001). There is also much evidence that these benefits cross lines of family income and parent education level. In an era characterized by tremendous emphasis on school accountability as measured by students’ performance, education reform measures are replete with components that address parent involvement (Belenardo, 2001). The parent-teacher association (PTA) has been rigorously advocated in Nigeria in recent years, which aims at the promotion of parent involvement to enhance the educational outcomes of students. The number of PTAs has been increasing drastically. Parents Teachers Association can be identified as very important variable that have potential for promoting directly or indirectly student academic achievements (Olatoye and Ogunkola, 2008).
Looking at the quality of products that Nigeria’s secondary schools turn out, it appears the quality of education received by the students is low in terms of cognitive, affective and psychomotor development there-by making the secondary school system ineffective. Omoregie (2006) lamented that the primary education which is the pivot of the entire educational system in Nigeria is fast loosing relevance, as it is not fulfilling the national objectives as set down in the National Policy of Education. The academic performance of primary school pupils could be attributed to several factors but this study is restricted to the role of parents teachers’ association as a potential factor . It has been noticed in some areas, that school headmasters/headmistress do not involve the parents in the administration of the schools for fear of being criticized. It appears in some cases, parents are no longer allowed to participate in school programmes and parents are no longer allowed to visit their children in school regularly to see how they fare.
There are instances where some principals no longer make use of the Parents-Teachers Association (PTA) in schools administration. All these tend to make the parents handicapped in assisting the school in the provision of qualitative education to its students . According to Cotton and Wikelund (2001), many benefits are accrued for the school and for parents themselves when parents become involved in their children’s school activities. They maintained that, school personnel benefit from the improved rapport that generally accompanies increased parents’ involvement. This rapport is often expressed in parents’ increased willingness to support school with their labour and resources during fund-raising activities or special projects. Besides, Henderson (1987), Hicks and Sammons (1992) and Hillman and Mortimore (1995) had showed in their various studies that parental presence in the school activities and participation in committees’ events and other activities all had positive effects on achievement.
Adewuyi (2002) also submitted that active parent involvement and positive home-school-community relations have been shown to positively influence effective schooling and students’ achievement. Ajayi (1999) also posited that, effective administration of schools could be hampered where the PTA is not performing its roles as expected. Also, Ajayi (2007) posited that, the school and the community are interdependent and interrelated and for the relationship between them to be meaningful, worthwhile and productive, they must be willing to assist each other to achieve their respective goals in atmosphere of love, mutual trust and cooperation.
1.2 STATEMENT OF THE PROBLEM
As educators struggle to identify and maximize the use of every resource to improve students’ performance, it is increasingly important that they establish and maintain high levels of parent involvement in their schools. Although parent involvement at the elementary-school level has been studied extensively, more research is needed “to determine why there is a decrease of involvement as the child advances to higher grades” (Smith,2001, p. 149) The purpose of this study was to develop a better understanding of the factors that significantly affect the level of parent involvement during the middle-school years.
1.3 PURPOSE OF THE STUDY
The purposes of this study are:
1. To reveal parents’ and teachers’ perceptions towards the PTA in achieving its goals.
2. To examine the impact of parent involvement in the academic Performance of pupils in the primary school. 3. To explore factors that have been perceived to promote or inhibit the parents’ involvement in the academic process of students in pupils school. 4. To investigate the extent of parents’ involvement in school administration and its effect on the development of primary school pupils.
1.4 RESEARCH QUESTIONS
1. Are there any differences between the perceptions of parents and teachers in terms of the involvement of PTA in achieving school goals? 2. To what extent does parent involvement in the academic process affect their performance in primary school? 3. What factors have been perceived to promote or inhibit parents’ involvement in the academic progress of pupils in primary school? 4. To what extent does parents’ involvement in school administration effect the development of primary school pupils?
1.5 RESEARCH HYPOTHESIS
1) There is a significant difference between the perceptions of parents and teachers in terms of the involvement of PTA in achieving school goals. 2) There is a significant effect on the parent involvement in the academic processes and their performance in primary schools. 3) There are significant factors which have been perceived to promote or inhibit parents’ involvement in the academic progress of pupils in primary school. 4) There is a significant relationship in parents’ involvement in the school administration and it effect on the development of primary school pupils.
1.6 SIGNIFICANCE OF THE STUDY
It is hoped that this study will provide information for parents, educators and school administrators to reflect upon various factors that help Parents Teachers Association in achieving its school goals. In so doing, they can investigate the possibility of introducing those factors to their own PTAs, which may consequently lead to enhancing students’ educational outcomes in school. In addition, the fact that this study is conducted in public schools, it shares quite a lot of similarities with many other counterparts. In this connection, this study provides a valuable reference for other schools to reflect upon the rationales and goals set by their own PTAs.
1.7 SCOPE OF THE STUDY
This research work focuses on the role of Parents Teachers Association in the development of primary school pupils in some selected schools in Ojo Local Government Area of Lagos State. This research work covers all public primary schools students in Ojo Local Government Area of Lagos State. However, four public primary schools will be used as case study.
1.8 LIMITATION OF THE STUDY
Apart from time-frame and shortage of finance, the major limitation to this research is the inability of the researcher to cover the whole Public primary schools in Ojo Local Government Area Of Lagos State as the title suggest.
1.9 DEFINITION OF TERMS
A. PTA = Parents Teachers Association.
B. PTO= Parents Teachers Organisation.
C. PTM = Parents Teachers Meeting.
D. PUBLIC SCHOOL = A school that is owned, control and fund by the government.
E. ECCE = Early Child Care and Education.
F. LGA = Local Government Authority.
G. SUBEB = State Universal Basic Education Board.
F. PRIMARY EDUCATION = This is the “education given in institution for children aged 6 to 11plus” for a duration of six years.
Education is a triangular process of school, teachers and parents for child development. So the parents’ cooperation with teachers is essential for the desired growth of child. Today, parents are involved in school management in the whole world. Involvement of the parents in school management is different names in different parts of the world like school council, given parent teachers’ council, parent teachers’ association. Parent Teachers’ Association (PTA) is considered the essential component of any institution. It is considered that PTA is performing a key role for promoting quality education. According to Govinda and Diwan (2005) community participation is an effective source of promoting education. According to Smith (1961) and Batten (1967) PTA is a valuable asset of any well organized school for welfare of children. It helps to create mutual understanding and communication between parents and teachers for solving educational matters of institute.
Past and present governments have all shared the sentiments that a vital part of a country’s infrastructure is its educational system, for education has the ability to shape a nation’s cultural character as well as ensure its long-term social and economic well being. The Government of Nigeria has shown enormous commitment to the achievement of “Education of All” (EFA) through its Poverty Reduction Strategy. (Education Sector Report, 2004). Poverty Reduction Strategy (GPRS) is the provision of quality education. Quality is simply defined as fitness for purpose (National Universities Commission (NUC) 2002). This definition implies that quality in education could be regarded as the ability of an institution to fulfill its mission or programme of study. The overall goal of the Ministry of Education is to provide quality and relevant education for all Nigerians to enable them acquire skills which will make them functionally literate and productive for the rapid socio- economic development of the country.
Over the years, many efforts have been made through educational reforms to improve the quality of education and make it more responsive to the needs and aspirations of the Nigerian society, Nevertheless, recent results of the Basic Education Certificate Examination (BECE) show that standards are still falling. (Akyeampong, 2002) Nigeria’s educational system has experienced a number of challenging reforms, such as the 1987 reform with its modifications, and the Free Compulsory Universal Basic Education (FCUBE) programme, in 2004 that tried to address them. The low academic performance of pupils in Mathematics and Science, were attributed to inadequate provision of teaching and learning materials, ineffective school management, poor parents’ participation [which is the reason for the this studies], poor monitoring and evaluation, poor supervision, pupil and teacher absenteeism and inadequate supply of text books.
Currently, there is a general feeling that the education system in Nigeria is falling continuously, especially at the basic level. (Akyeampong, Fobih and Koomson, 1999). Experts have attributed this pattern to the ineffectiveness of the Parent Teachers Association (PTAs), and had questioned the essence of their existence. In Nigeria, PTAs were among the number of interventions adopted by the Government of Nigeria under the Nigeria Education Act of 1999 in all basic schools which aimed at;
1) Strengthening community participation
2) Mobilization for education delivery, as well as
3) Improving quality teaching and learning .
The PTA is a representation of the entire community (IEDE, 2003). This committee is made up of nine members in each basic school with various representatives from the Municipal Directorate of Education, Head of school, Unit committee, Parent, Chief of the town, Teaching staff, Old Students Association and other co-opted member. The major functions of this committee designated by the Act include; monitoring and supervision of head teachers, teachers and pupils, ensuring maintenance and safety of school infrastructure, ensuring pupil and teacher discipline, assisting teachers to improve teaching and learning, resolving school-community conflict and improving teacher community relations.
According to the President’s Committee on Review of Education Reform in Ghana, (2002), the SMCs presently do not appear to be effective in many schools due to the following factors; 1. Some head teachers and teachers feign ignorance of their existence and refuse to accept them as part of the management system for local schools, 2. SMCs are competing with the better known and better established and resourced *Parent Teachers Association (PTA) and 3. Some members of PTAs do not understand their roles.
It is based on these issues that have necessitated the researcher to undertake this study on assessing the impact of the role PTAs roles in improving teaching and learning in primary schools in Ojo local government area of Lagos state Municipality.
REVIEW OF THE RELATED LITERATURE
In order to achieve the purpose of the study, the review will be done on the following sub-headings:
1. History of education in Nigeria.
2. Primary Education system in Nigeria.
3. Management of primary school as stated in NPE.
4. Concept of parents Teachers Association.
5. Roles of parents Teachers Association in school development.
6. Roles of parent Teachers Association on teaching and learning.
7. The benefits of PTA.
8. The advantages and the disadvantages of Parents-Teachers Association in the Education system
2.1 HISTORY OF EDUCATION IN NIGERIA
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 later government became fully involved having seen education as an effective tool for national development. In fact, the early missions provided the benchmark for establishment of schools in Nigeria till date. In 1887, the first Nigeria education ordinance provided background for government 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 code propelled educational development in Nigeria. Nevertheless, educational development became sporadic from 1930 with adequate government participation till date. In light of all these, private school establishments have been in the past traced to missionary adventurers. A lot of mission schools 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 public schools. There is greater individual and corporate private interest in education as an investment opportunity 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 now see education as an instrument for national development(Maduagwu, 2004).
Two notable factors are presumed to have contributed to the proliferations of private schools. A very high society pressure on education, such that effective demand for education is increasing as world population increases. Also the collapsing quality in public schools has pushed many parents to seek for quality education in the private hands. These two factors have causal relationships because as population increases, pressing needs on existing infrastructures increases 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 accepted values 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 level manifested into the secondary school level. This increase affected government expenditures as more schools and teachers are required. With this also, there is pressure on the tiny government resources allocated to education thereby affecting public school management that triggered private investment in education. Maduagwu (2004) succinctly postulated amidst these conceptions that private schools establishment promotes quality education, resulting in good academic performance, sound disciplinary and moral practices, and profit making by school proprietors. In surmounting these challenges by private schools in education , government efforts is required for effective public school management in meeting the set out targets and goals of education through known quality assurance process.
2.2 PRIMARY EDUCATION SYSTEM IN NIGERIA
Primary school education is widely accepted as the first level of education system where formal education begins. It is seen as very important because it ensures that children acquire basic literacy skills and that they are taught to think critically. It is available to all citizens in every country of the world. This is the reason for the huge investment and involvement of governments of all countries of the world in its administration and processes. In Nigeria, primary education is recognised as the education given to children starting from the age of 6 years to 11 years plus. It runs for a period of six years, and its objectives include developing basic literacy, numeracy, communication skills, adaptation to changing environment and transmission of the culture of the people to younger generations.
It should be noted that to fully realise the goals and objectives of this important level of education, efforts and resources must be pulled together by all concerned stakeholders who include government, relevant and concerned organisations as well as parents especially. It is for this reason that the Federal Republic of Nigeria stated in National Policy on Education (2004) that the involvement of voluntary agencies, communities and private individuals, parents inclusive, is welcomed. Parental involvement in public schools has been documented as academically beneficial by educational researchers, supported politically, and valued by many educators and individuals in the general public (Gonzalez-DeHass and Willems, 2003).
Hung (2007) and Mwaikimu (2012) both agreed that parental involvement is a way of making the educational system more self governing, developing more power at the local level and allowing for greater accountability by schools to the society. Moreover, they acknowledged that in general, society needs to increase its level of educational involvement, and that this starts with the support by the parents. Dodge et al. (2002) have noted that parents and family members have much to offer the school in terms of support, insights and skills. Research suggests that pupils, parents, teachers and head teachers as well as schools benefit from increased parental involvement.
The National Policy on Education defines Primary Education as the “education given in institutions for children aged 6 to 11 plus” for a duration of six years. This definition is also in consonance with the International Standard Classification of Education (ISCED), definition which stated that, “Primary Education (ISCED Level 1), sometimes referred to as elementary education, refer to the education programmes that are normally designed on a unit or project basis to give pupils a sound basic education in reading, writing and mathematics along with an elementary understanding of other sources such as, history, geography, natural science, social science, art and music” (EFA Global Monitoring Report, 2002) which serve to develop pupil’s ability to obtain and use information about the immediate environment and the nation.
The goals of primary education as stated in the National Policy on Education [NPE, Section 3(16] is to: i. Inculcate permanent literacy and numeracy, and the ability to communicate effectively; ii. Lay a sound basis for scientific and reflective thinking; iii. Give citizenship education as a basis for effective participation in and contribution to the life of the society; iv. Mould the character and develop sound attitude and morals in the child; v. Develop in the child the ability to adapt to his/her changing environment;
vi. Give the child opportunities for developing manipulative skills that will enable him to function effectively in the society within the limits of his/her capacity; vii. Provide the child with basic tools for further educational advancement including preparation for trades and crafts of the locality. The Universal Basic Education (UBE) Act, which came into effect in May 2004 also seeks to reinforce the national primary education goals and set targets for attaining universal primary education within the global EFA context by year 2015. The Act provided for compulsory, free universal basic education for all children of primary and junior secondary school age in Nigeria (UBE Act, May 2004).
2. 3 MANAGEMENT AND CONTROL OF PRIMARY EDUCATION
The development of the primary education sub-sector has evolved over the years from a home based single room school strictly managed by Christian missionaries who brought western education to Nigeria in the 19th century with the main priorities of evangelism and conversion to Christianity (ESA, Historical, 2003 pg 36) and remained exclusively in the hands of missionaries for 40 years from 1842-1882. The colonial government intervened only in 1872 through grant in aid to ensure proper management and also enable government to have some measure of control in the education sector. Thereafter, government set the criteria for schools to qualify for the grants and also promulgated the first Education Ordinance in 1882. Other ordinances, acts and decrees got enacted over the years to ensure effective planning, administration and management of education.
The dual ownership and control of schools (public/private) lasted till 1970 when at the end of the civil war the then East Central State government promulgated an edict and compulsorily took over all schools in the state. Some other states in southern Nigeria did the same at various times until the Federal Military Government enacted the “Schools Take Over Validation Decree” No. 41 of 1977 which reinforced the powers of state governments to take over all schools to ensure effective implementation of the national programme on Universal Primary Education (UPE) that was launched in 1976. The decree also prohibited the courts from hearing litigations that challenged the takeover of schools by state government. However, between the late 1970s and 1985 permission was granted to private proprietors to establish schools alongside public schools to ease the financial burden on governments. This development has continued till now with private proprietors establishing and managing fee paying primary schools alongside public schools.
2.3.1 CURRENT STATE OF PRIMARY EDUCATION
STRUCTURE OF PRIMARY EDUCATION
Education at this level is provided mainly by the local governments with substantial private efforts mainly at the urban areas for children officially aged 6-11 years and lasts for 6 years. Primary Education administration and management even though on the concurrent legislative list, is the responsibility of state governments under the supervision of State Primary Education Boards, although much of its management is devolved to local governments. The federal government is charged with oversight and quality assurance functions. The curriculum is designed to ensure acquisition of general training and basic education.
With the declaration of the UBE in 1999, the 6 years primary education would be phrased out, a 9 year basic education programme will take its place. The first set of candidates for this programme was admitted into class one in year 2000. At present, the primary education curriculum derives from the 6-3-3-4 system of education currently in practice with focus on acquisition of knowledge and skills relevant for functional living. Accordingly, the National Policy on Education (NPE, 2004, p.14) provided that: “Curriculum for primary education shall include;
1. Languages: a. Language of the environment b. English c. French
4. Physical and health Education
5. Religious Knowledge
6. Agriculture/Home Economics
7. Social Studies and Citizenship Education
8. Cultural and Creative Arts (Drawing, Handicraft, Music and Cultural Activities). The curricular provisions have recently been updated in order to address emerging challenges. Accordingly, new subject areas were developed some have been introduced while some have been recommended for approval and policy directive at the 2004 JCCE plenary and the 2004 NCE meeting for introduction. The new subjects target topical/global issues such as Drug Abuse Education, Environmental Education, Population and Family Life education, Sexuality Education, National Values etc which would subsequently be infused into the existing subjects in the primary education Curriculum.
2.4 PARENTS-TEACHERS’ ASSOCIATION IN THE SCHOOL SYSTEM
Parents-Teachers’ Association (PTA) is a formal organization that consists of parents, teachers and non-teaching staff in the school. The Federal Ministry of Education in Nigeria insists as a matter of policy, that every approved school (primary or secondary) in the Country must have a functional Parents-Teachers Association (PTA) (Abdullahi, 2006). In compliance to this, there is a PTA established in every secondary school in Nigeria. The association is usually headed by Chairman/Chairperson. In fact, PTA offers pragmatic pieces of advice to the school management on areas of improvement. The association’s meetings are held once every school term, while Annual General Meeting (AGM) is held once a year. Emergency meetings are held whenever the need arises (Bica-Jos, 201 1). Before and shortly after independence in Nigeria, schools were adequately funded while available physical facilities were sufficient for staff and students use.
Thus, Parents-Teachers Association was not too prominent in the affairs of the schools. However, due to the numerous challenges In the Nigerian education sector, it became paramount for most of the schools (primary and secondary) to have PTAs to assist in solving their problems. As enunciated by Abdulkareem and Oduwaiye (2010), PTAs have been a major stakeholder in the Nigerian education sector as they constitute a significant supplier of educational resources to the sector. The proliferation of Parents-Teachers Associations in the Nigerian school system has led to the emergence of PTAs at institutional, Local Government Area, State and National levels. This development has made many parents to be more actively involved in school programmes than ever before. In fact, parents have become more formally and effectively engaged in quality assurance efforts in the schools.
2.5 ROLES OF PARENTS-TEACHERS’ ASSOCIATION IN SCHOOL MANAGEMENT In Nigeria, today, management of schools is no longer completely in the hands of principals and teachers; rather the parents of the students are on their toes in ensuring that available resources are efficiently utilized to achieve school goals. Parents and teachers come together as a pressure group-PTA. The associations’ goals focus mainly on school efficiency and effectiveness, which Fadipe (2000) regarded as quality measures of education. In fact, “many schools rely on their PTAs to salvage them from collapse” (Abdulkareem and Oduwaiye, 2010, p.400). Roles of Parents-Teachers Association can be grouped as advisory; disciplinary; financial; maintenance of school-community relations; provision and maintenance of infrastructural facilities. Abdullahi (1996) viewed PTAs’ roles as enabling parents come to grip with the problems of the school their children attend, complementing government efforts in the provision of physical facilities, and providing assistance to the institutions in the areas of funding, supervision, guidance and budgeting, thereby ensuring quality in the schools’ activities.
The hysterical expansion of student enrolments in the Nigerian school system in recent years, coupled with inadequate resources to cope with the ever-increasing demand for access to the school in the country, has made school leadership and management a much more complex and difficult enterprise now than ever before. To ensure effective management, the school head must not only be innovative, resourceful and dynamic, but must be able to interact well with people both within and outside the school. Such people include the school staff and pupils/students, parents, members of the Parents-Teachers Association and other members of the larger community. All of these need to be considered, in one way or the other, in the decision-making process and quality performance in the school.
2.6 ROLES OF PTA IN TEACHING AND LEARNING PROCESS
The historical development of PTA in both the developed and developing countries is partly linked to school Board of Governors’ failures and partly due to the need for extra financial support from the local community for school development (Hurt, 1985). In Kenya, for instance, PTA was created following a presidential directive in 1980 (World Bank, 2008). It is assumed that it was set up to raise extra funds for school development, however, later on there seems to be a growing feeling that Board of Governors (BOGs) are politically elected and therefore are not the right forum to address the interest and needs of parents and the community in general (World Bank, 2008). Therefore, PTAs are seen as a better option. In Southern Sudan, PTA is mandated by the Southern Sudan Education Act 2008 (Kamba, 2010). It is stipulated in the Act 2008 that: School management committees and parent teachers association shall be established by committees at the school level as a means of engaging communities and creating community ownership and commitment to delivery and management of education services to the citizens of Southern Sudan in accordance with the Interim constitution of Southern Sudan 2005 (Part1:Chapter1;Clause 41.1.b).
It is therefore expected to enhance community engagement, community ownership, community commitment and management of education services. Macbeth (1990) has identified six purposes of a parental association but warns that they may conflict. They include: To provide support for teachers; To represent parent’s interest; To provide a forum for educational discussion and a means of communication; To foster educational partnership between home and school for the benefit of children; To assist members who have difficulties; To advance an ideology (e.g. religion, educational etc). But clearly teachers’ interests are excluded from the list. In the UK the current breed of PTAs is strongly associated with the Plowden report, which recognised it as an important means by which parents could be involved in the life of the school. Edwards and Redfern (1988), argues that PTA eliminated traditional barriers and thus provided an informal setting by which communication with parents and other stakeholder could be improved.
However, historically, evidence shows that in the UK there has been PTAs (the National Confederation of Parent-Teacher Association-NCPTA) long before 1956. However the early configuration was rather different- a loose kind of PTAs which was isolated and based on individual schools. So there is evidence of a long history there, which dates far way back long before the Plowden report. Therefore Plowden report’s recommendation onthe formation of PTA is not seen as a new development (Edwards and Red, 1998). Also in the UK, according to Munn (1993), the school boards play a role in the formation of PTAs. In some other contexts PTA is regarded as pressure group.
They are likened to ‘a football supporters’ club in their capacity to raise money’ (Brighouse, 1985). They are also perceived as a parent interest group whose existence and growth is associated with the notion of consumerism (Macbeth, 1993). However the way PTAs are defined and used depends on individual schools and local contexts (Wolfendale, 1992). Interestingly, most head teachers in the review perceive PTAs very positively as a group that has a genuine interest in the welfare of the school, that is less threatening to the running of the school and as a valuable resource in the life of the school.
They are also esteemed as good social functions or events organizers. Further review reveal that head teachers regard PTAs as ‘a reserve battalion’ especially when tackling local authorities disputes over resources and other needs (Brighouse, 1985). But Edwards and Redfern (1988) note that during early days headteachers and teachers felt that PTAs involvement in schools consumed a lot of their valuable time. Cyster et al., (1979) conducted a study on head teacher’s views towards PTAs and report both positive and negative perceptions.
The roles of PTA have been widely reported and especially that of fund-raising (Bereford and Herdie,1996; Bastiani, 1993; McConkey, 1985; Dufla et al., 2009; The Save the Child, 2005). For, instance, they organise events such as social or family evening for either socialising or fund-raising purposes or both. Besides, they hold such events ‘to nourish the growth of links with the community. In the USA, for instance, Lin (2010) reports a number of roles performed by PTAs, they include, involving parents in classroom decision, promoting communications, social events and fundraising and, lobbying the state and national legislatives on behalf of the students. The PTAs forum therefore affords parents and teachers an opportunity to socialise and raise funds (Wolfendale, 1992; Yahie, 2000; Novicki,1998). Social events also served the purpose of promoting good relationship between parents and teachers as well as improving relationship among parents themselves.
But as Macbeth (1993) points out many of the activities organised by PTAs are less appealing to parents. Edwards and Redfern (1998) have also identified fund raising as one of the most controversial aspect of PTAs’ social events. In the UK, Her Majesty’s inspections of 1983/4 reported of schools becoming increasingly dependent on PTAs funds. The funds could be used in any of the following items or areas: textbooks, equipment, minibuses, furniture, library books and school redecoration. Other roles of social events include, disseminating information to parents and in some occasion welcome new parents to the school (Edwards and Redfern, 1988). The danger associated with fundraising events is that schools may tend to exert enormous and unnecessary pressure on the associations in order to raise more funds as circumstances may dictate regardless whether the kind of events they use are controversial or not.
The other danger is that PTAs membership may be adversely affected. The other claim is that fund-raising activities impacts negatively on the establishment of what Edwards and Redfern (1988) describe as, ‘a true educational partnership between parents and teachers.’ They argue that fund-raising events not only absorb much effort and energy but also distracts the process through which such relationship is established and strengthened. In other words the focus is lost. Also, Macbeth (1993) warns that ‘when the interests of parents and schools do not coincide, PTAs may be of little value.’ Also Miguel (1999) highlights problems associated with ethnic diversity, which are reflected in less parental participation in PTAs, in school meetings and sharp reduction in the amount of money received through fundraising activities. Wolfendale (1992) reports that limitations have been reported related to this kind of forum resulting in alternative forums such as a parents association, an education association and mini-association.
This view is also reported by Macbeth (1993) who observes that their ‘peripheral nature’ is linked to the emergence of ‘parallel parental activist groups’ in many countries. The views that PTAs were peripheral associations appear to have prevailed prior to the 1990s because Macbeth (1990) comments that, that image may be changing leading to a genuine relationship between schools and parents. The other claim by Wragg (1989) and Macbeth, (1993) is that the PTA forum was powerless as far as parents were concerned and that it was similar to a staff social club and therefore does not appeal to parents. They have also been criticised for lack of a clear mechanism for dealing with conflicts (Macbeth, 1993). The other criticism is that of ‘failing to be educationally central’.
They also lack clear aims and scope. However, heads leadership has been identified as key to the success of PTAs roles (Macbeth,1990). Parents and Teachers Association (PTA) also manages the affairs of the school In that this is a welfare body that brings together the teaching staff and the parents of the school. This body generally provides the funds approved by the BOG for the development of the school. Other roles may include the following: bringing closer the staff and the parents of the school; providing a forum for discussion on all aspects concerning the school and its activities; providing opportunity for exchange of views between the staff and parents; organizing social activities with an aim of bringing staff, parents and the BOG closer together; providing, through its fund raising efforts, for equipment, scholarships, improvements and development to the school; both BOG and PTA steer the school academic standards to a level that is admirable and this is seen through the improvement of results of Kenya Certificate of Secondary Education Examinations (KCSE). The PTA also plays an important role in two areas; participating in the discussions concerning the annual school budget; they receive the recommendations of the BOG and discus them. They then approve it, which in effect approves the school fees to be charged every year; participating in the discussions concerning the identification of development projects and prioritization. They then participate in the implementation of the projects.
2.7 BENEFITS OF PARENTS-TEACHERS ASSOCIATION
As reported by Olsen and Fuller (2010), eighty-five studies that documented the comprehensive benefits of parental involvement were reviewed and analysed by Henderson and Berla (1994). Their analysis and other studies show that parent involvement activities that are effectively planned and well implemented resulted in substantial benefits to children, parents, teachers and schools.
2.7.1 THE BENEFITS OF PARENTS-TEACHERS ASSOCIATION TO THE PUPILS
As for children, they achieved more, regardless of ethnic or racial background, socioeconomic status, or parents’ education level, had better self-esteem, were more self-disciplined and showed higher aspirations and motivation towards school. Seven Ways PTAs Can Impact Student Learning – by Julie Lyons PTA’s are traditionally known for supporting the schools with engaging programs and activities. At my children’s schools, for example, the PTA runs talent shows, organizes classroom and school-wide parties, and holds fundraisers for items such as playground equipment and classroom technology. In the school district where I teach, our parents run the school store, help chaperone dances, and bring in special assemblies for students to enjoy.
Clearly, our children benefit from the PTA’s involvement, and these dedicated parents should be commended for their hard work and commitment by making programs and activities possible that may otherwise not be feasible. An increasingly popular discussion topic for these involved parents relates to a high-stakes subject: how PTA’s can impact student learning. With tight budgets and cuts to school funding, PTA’s have an even larger role to fill – today more than ever. Schools may not be able to fully implement programming and activities that could boost student achievement, and a parent-teacher organization can be that vital missing link. Consider the following seven ways that PTA’s today can help:
BEGIN WITH THE END IN MIND.
Grant Wiggins, the author of Understanding By Design, explains how teachers can more effectively educate their students by planning lessons based on goals they expect students to reach by the end of the lesson, unit, or school year. With this model, planning with the end result in mind leads to better outcomes. Likewise, if the PTA focuses on educational goals, they can take already-existing events and transform them in such a way that they are both enjoyable and achievement-oriented. For example, at the next school dance, the PTA can send home a tip sheet on how to balance schoolwork and extra-curricular activities. Or, in planning the next assembly, the focus might be on a particular subject area (such as reading, math, science, or social studies), and the PTA may design the event based on that theme.
Use fundraising proceeds to make purchases that will boost student learning. In my children’s district, the PTA funded the purchase of Smart boards, document cameras, and projection devices for the classroom. Without their contribution, the majority of classrooms in my daughter’s school would be without this technology.
PROMOTE MATH AND LITERACY.
The research shows that strong literacy and mathematical skills are imperative for students entering today’s workforce. PTA’s can be invaluable partners with the schools to promote improved literacy and mathematics development. The Center for Public Education reports that when the PTA of a Title I school targeted struggling students with more support (by “sending materials home, meeting face to face with parents, and maintaining frequent telephone contact when their children had problems”), that school enjoyed a 40% increased improvement rate with respect to student achievement.
Plan events focused on learning. In program planning, focus on ways that your PTA can improve learning, such as hosting workshops to help parents • • • help children with homework and new curriculum. In my district, we hosted “Game Nights” when we implemented a new math program that parents found confusing and unfamiliar. By educating parents on the games students would play in the classroom, families now could reinforce school learning at home by playing these games with their children.
IMPROVE PARENTING SKILLS.
It is true that students who exhibit behavior problems may miss key information throughout the school year due to excessive absences, suspensions, and office referrals. By promoting pro- social, positive behavior at home, parents can help their children improve their behavior at home and school, which will benefit the child academically. Since many parents may be embarrassed to admit they need help with parenting skills, offering free workshops and seminars will allow concerns to be addressed in a non-threatening way to interested families.
Work with teachers, principals, and curriculum supervisors. What goals do they have for students? What are the students’ strengths and weaknesses? By reinforcing school-wide programs with related PTA- sponsored events, school efforts will be more likely to meet with success.