Parental involvement in primary education in Uganda
Berg, R. van den
Noort, L. van
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According to previous research, parental involvement is expected to improve academic achievement and student behavior, school climate and school program. There are six areas in which activities can be organized in order to create parental involvement (Epstein, 2001). These areas contain the cooperation between schools and parents in terms of socialization and education of the child; the communication between parents and schools; volunteering activities of parents in school; parental influence on decision-making; and the collaboration between schools and the community. The aim of the current research was to find out how primary schools in Uganda involved parents in the education of their children. During March and April 2011 ten primary schools in three Ugandan districts were visited. By doing observations in schools and semistructured interviews with head teachers, teachers and parents, the practices used by schools to involve parents were investigated. According to the participants there was a lack of cooperation between parents and schools. Two-way communication between parents and schools was absent. Besides, only a few schools created opportunities for parents to volunteer in school. Moreover, the functionality of parent committees showed great differences between schools. Finally, not all schools had a good relationship with the community and this relationship seemed to become less important in urban areas. Two obstacles that impeded parental involvement in the Ugandan context were illiteracy and poverty of parents. This study showed that these two barriers could be partly overcome, in order to create opportunities for all parents to become involved in education.