Challenges and Opportunities to Increase Parental Involvement in Mauritius
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Research points to parental involvement as a significant variable in students’ academic achievement, and one which can improve outcomes for disadvantaged children who are at increased risk for underachievement. It has been said that what parents “do” can mediate what parents “have” when parents exhibit a set of beliefs and practices conducive to parental involvement, and a positive parent-school partnership exists. These ideas are critical in Mauritius, where numerous educational innovations have been made, yet problems of student retention, failure and attrition persist. Research has found low parental involvement in Mauritius, though gaps remain in specifying stakeholders’ needs and ideas to increase parental involvement. The current study thus explores the challenges and opportunities that exist for parental involvement in Mauritius, employing a mixed-method research design. Through online surveys with parents (n = 28), teachers (n = 27), and a case study with educational professionals in a ZEP school community, stakeholders’ perspectives were analysed alongside school practices. The study finds that key parent beliefs, socio-economic and family factors affect parental involvement, and highlights the value of targeted, ecological approaches. Participants’ desire for a parent education programme in Mauritius and a preliminary exploration of the programme features is offered.