When children come back from school with homework who is expected to assist them? The parent? The neighbour?
When children go back to school with unfinished homeworks, sometimes with zero work done on the homework who should the teacher blame? The parent? The child?
In every state, learners spend a lot of their time at home than at school, they spend a lot of their time outside school. Teachers have very limited time to understand each and every learner in their classroom, especially in countries such as South Africa where the student to teacher ratio reaches as high as 31:1.
This brings into question the role and/or the impact of parental involvement in child’s education.
This of course wouldn’t be interesting without some research evidence to draw some light on the topic. However, parental involvement in a learner’s education is not a broad field of study. In South Africa, research and evidence on the impact of parental involvement is very limited.
One study from South Africa titled ‘Black parental involvement in education’ by P. Singh and S.M. Mbokodi studied for a period of twelve months spread over two years (2002/2003), 24 parents with learners in eight different historically disadvantaged secondary schools.
The study focused on the black community and according to the study the reason for delimiting the study to the black community only is based on the many challenges this community face in the post-apartheid South Africa.
The study added that:
The findings of the study revealed that the black parents’ role is crucial in the enhancement of learner success. Parents who played little or no role in their children’s homework and study programmes contributed to the poor performance of their children in the classroom. Also, the extremely limited success thus far in the implementation of OBE in historically black communities was significantly due to the absence of cooperation between the school and the home.
The study was initially conducted in the latter part of 2002 (July to December) when the learners were in Grade 10 and there was a follow up study on the same participants in the first six months of 2003, when the learners were in Grade 11.
In Peru, a sample of 16 children in four departments was interviewed together with their teachers and parents. Researchers in this study found that parents have limited knowledge about how learning takes place in schools and how they can support their children.
According to Howe, F. & Simmons B. J. (2005). Nurturing the Parent-Teacher Alliance, some schools may expect parents to be involved in helping their child do homework while other schools may interpret involvement as attendance at parent-teacher committee meetings.
In poor and disadvantaged communities, especially where the parents don’t hold any secondary and/or university qualification, there’s still a disconnect between the support parents give their children and what is expected of the parents in terms of getting involved in a child’s education.