It is commonly agreed that the parent/ teacher’s association play a pivotal role towards the success of any school in the Gambia and this was really manifested during a visit to New Jeshwang Lower Basic School Thursday 6 March 2008.
It is obviously agreed that besides the teachers, parents play very important role to improve the education standard of their children. Why, because children stay longer time with their parents at home than the teachers at school therefore parents have a lot to play towards the achievement of quality education in this country. Parents have the first responsibility to discipline their children in order for he classroom teacher to be able to provide his or her lesson in a peaceful environment.
The PTA is very important in the school set up since both the parents and teachers have same commitment or engagement towards the success a child. It is always expected from the parents to provide children to teachers, while in another hand, teachers are also expected to give quality education and to ensure this, government should put on accessible infrastructures. We cannot also ensure quality education if the teachers are not encouraged on motivated. The only way to motivate teachers is to ensure quality education is to capacitate them and make sure they are well paid. Government alone cannot do it that, but with the collaboration of the school PTA numerous achievements could be registered.
At New Jeshwang lower basic school, the PTA has created what they call school development fund and with this fund, which is raised by students through their parents is reserved for emergency purpose and should in case there is a need to improve or maintain the classrooms and other areas, this could be easily done with the school development fund without waiting for the government. Beside this school development fund paid by each student, the PTA, sometimes organize fundraising activities to address certain major problems in schools. Therefore, all members of the PTA have a special commitment to the success of the student.We all know that the issue of corporal punishment is over and therefore parents should be ready enough to assist teachers by disciplining their children at home. In that regards, teachers task would be very easy and enjoyable.
The Headmistress of Jeshwang lower basic school told me that her administration has a very cordial relation with parents, “reasons why we have to entrusted this development fund to them and whenever the need arises, we only examine the project and make approval”.
Spoken to two female students at the same school, I have been informed that their parents visit them every week to be ascertained about their children’s punctuality, academic performance and many other related issues.
In conclusion, for the Gambian students to have quality education, one should ensure that all the stake holders are involved that include the parents, teachers, guardians and the government. With the involvement of these stake holders in education, if each and every one acts accordingly, then there would be no big failure in our schools and only quality education would come from the teachers. Much has been said and planned, but without the full participation active PTA, both the teachers and government would find it very difficult to achieve the quality in education. Children are also very important since they are the main subjects to quality education.