School Management Team strategies for effective parental involvement at secondary schools in Lesotho
Lethoko, M. M. C.
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The importance of parental involvement (PI) has been acknowledged worldwide and the benefits of PI have been emphasized by literature. Although the benefits for PI are well known, it is not a given that PI is taking place effectively at all schools There are different levels of PI and some parents at the same school can be intensely involved whereas other parents are just not involved in any activities. Parents’ level of involvement differs from situation to situation, and there are certain factors that determine parental involvement. Although PI in children’s education is crucial and seen as an essential component to ensure that effective teaching and learning takes place, it remains a major educational issue. The focus of this research was on secondary schools in Lesotho. Research done on PI is scarce in Lesotho, especially when the focus falls on the role that the SMT has to play. In Lesotho the educators play a pivotal role in the children’s education and parental involvement is not prominent. Parents do not fulfil a vital role in their children’s education as most parents are illiterate and are too busy with everyday household chores to find the time to be involved in their children’s school activities, especially in the Mafeteng district. The effort of the SMT is extremely important as in most schools they determine the ethos of PI and lead the way to effective and sustained parental involvement. It is subsequently essential that SMTs should realise that they can aid in the process of actively involving parents by implementing appropriate context specific strategies and practices that will aid sustained and effective PI. Therefore, the purpose of this research was to develop strategies for School Management Teams (SMTs) to ensure effective parental involvement at secondary schools in Mafeteng district in Lesotho. Purposive sampling was used to select parents and SMT members as participants from eight secondary schools in the Mafeteng district. Four large size schools (800 plus learners) and four medium size schools (between 300 and 800 learners) were selected. Qualitative design-based research methodology was deemed appropriate for this study. A total of sixteen focus group interviews were applied to determine the participant’s perceptions regarding PI. The In-depth literature review and Epstein’s (2001) model of parental involvement, which illuminates six types of PI, aided the research in the initial deductive analysis process. The deductive analysis and inductive data-analysis process allowed for categories and patterns to materialize from the data. The study accentuated the importance and benefits of PI. Barriers specific to Lesotho, in particular the Mafeteng district, were identified. Emerging findings indicated the important role that the SMT must fulfil to ensure PI. The study resulted in proposed strategies which the SMT can apply to ensure effective parental involvement at secondary schools in Mafeteng district in Lesotho.
- Education