An empowerment approach to parental involvement in the primary school
Tshabalala, Maramane Monica
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Parental involvement in education is accepted as an important aspect of learner academic achievement. In fact, there is research evidence that associates high learner achievement with high rates of parental involvement. However, judging by the poor levels of achievement attained by learners in, for instance, areas like reading, writing and numeracy in primary school grades, the question rises as to whether parental involvement is consciously promoted in primary schools. This empirical research intended to investigate how parental involvement is currently promoted in primary schools. The literature review revealed the basic obligations of schools and parents as expressed in Epstein's six typologies of parental involvement, which form the basis of all endeavours towards enhancing parental involvement. Consequently, it is concluded that strategies or programmes aimed at promoting parental involvement, must embody parenting, communication, volunteering, learning at home, participation in decision-making and collaboration with the community. In this regard, the child's environment should be regarded as an ecology consisting of the school, home and community. The main empirical research finding indicates generally, that the meaning attached to parental involvement falls short of its essence, and focuses on response activities from both school staff and parents. The main recommendation, therefore, is advocacy that begins with empowering all stakeholders with regard to the essence of parental involvement. In this regard, the Empowerment Approach to Parental Involvement (EAPI) recommended in this research, proposes a model that empowers individual schools and the community, through a school-based and cluster-based focus. The EAPI model presents a series of actions leading to a modus operandi that recognises the power of zenzele (do it yourself) for schools and parents, and masakhane (doing it for ourselves together) for school clusters and the community. Both concepts utilise principles based on ubuntu and express the adage: "it takes a village to raise a child."
- ETD@Vaal Triangle Campus