Ministry working to revive parent/teacher associations

(Ministry of Education, Guyana, Monday, November 14, 2016

The support and involvement of parents and the community are extremely important for education. Parents are the primary influence in their children’s lives. They are their very first teachers. When teachers and parents can work together supportively, this raises standards in a school and helps children to achieve their potential. Children whose parents are actively involved with their schooling are more likely to value education and achieve more.

In Guyana, parental involvement in the Parent/Teacher Association continues to be a challenge especially at the secondary level. While PTAs seem to function at most primary schools, those PTAs are often small in comparison to the overall population of schools.

The new Parent Teachers Association’s Coordinator, Nadia Hollingsworth

The new Parent Teachers Association’s Coordinator, Nadia Hollingsworth

The Minister of Education has said on numerous occasions that the parent-teacher partnership is fundamental to the development of students.  It intends to establish a secretariat to specifically reinvigorate, coordinate and manage PTAs across the country. In the interim, Ms. Nadia Hollingsworth, PTA Coordinator has set off on a mission to resurrect Parent/Teacher Associations by first introducing schools to the Ministry’s comprehensive toolkit on Parent/Teacher Associations.

This PTA Toolkit is a collection of guidelines and ideas complied over two years of working with schools and communities in a variety of different settings within Region Six. It outlines the roles and responsibilities of parents and teachers in the Executive Committee and prescribes numbers best practices for a well-functioning parent/teacher association.

Since Ms. Hollingsworth’s appointment, she has conducted sessions on Reinforcement of PTA policies and sensitization on the use of the toolkit; Conflict resolution between parents and Head Teacher; Engaged with parents to address their issues; Professional development sessions for members of staff; and awareness sessions on how to facilitate comradery between home and school.

In addition, Ms. Hollingsworth has been attending head teachers meetings countrywide to implore that they provide the atmosphere for healthy parent- teachers’ relationship.

Further, the PTA coordinator plans to hold a series of parent forum across the country to help parents to understand their roles and responsibilities in the education process of their children. She is hoping to have these activities on weekends to ensure maximum participation by parents. She is calling on the Private Sector Commission through the MOE to review its policies on releasing employees to attend meetings.