The effect of literacy levels on parental involvement in selected primary schools in the Qwa Qwa region
Nyama, Dipontsheng Merriam
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Parents are considered to be important and indispensable stakeholders in education. Research shows that parental involvement in the education of their children is a crucial matter as it contributes directly to the learners’ academic achievement. This study intended to investigate the possible effects of parents’ literacy levels on their involvement in the education and the academic achievement of their children. Approached from a constructivist point of view, the study specifically focused on schools situated in the rural areas of the Qwa Qwa region. The rationale for choosing the particular geographical focus was that it is frequently argued that learners educated in rural environments often find themselves in disadvantaged situations since their parents are financially poor, that they lack proper formal education and thus have low literacy levels, and that they are seldom involved in their children’s education and academic achievement. In order to direct the study towards the intended purpose, a literature study was undertaken to explore the phenomena of literacy and parental involvement. Literacy, its occurrence in the South African context and how parents’ literacy levels relate to learner performance were examined. In addition, parental involvement was investigated by considering the parents’ role as primary educators and by highlighting the importance of parental involvement in terms of its benefits towards children’s education and academic performance. By means of a qualitative case study, individual and focus group interviews were conducted with purposeful selected Head of Departments (HODs), parents and learners from four conveniently selected intermediate schools in the Thabo Mofutsanyana District of the Qwa Qwa region. In total four HODs, 14 parent couples and 14 Grade 6 learners participated in the research. The results of this research show that the parents’ literacy levels indeed affect their involvement in their children’s education and academic achievement. Parents with low literacy levels appear that they want to be involved but that they find it difficult. Most parents with low literacy levels are not able to assist their children with schoolwork but depend on others, such as older siblings to assist. Furthermore the research reveals that parents do not often visit schools voluntarily but that they rather do so by invitation. However, relations between schools and parents appear to be healthy and the attitudes of parents towards their children’s education are positive. Although parents with low literacy levels cannot always assist their children with their schoolwork, they motivate and value the education of their children since they realize that education remains the vehicle for social-economic development in any society.
- ETD@Vaal Triangle Campus