Education is a very powerful tool for any society to develop and grow. Education has come a long way, from the time when formal education was not important, to where education was only meant for the boy child to a society where education is wholesome. In today’s world education is for all both young and old as long as one is determined to succeed.
In (rural-remote areas) e.g western Kenya, a child wakes up at 5.00 a.m a very cold and chilly morning. The cold weather is the last thing on their mind. As they rush to the bathroom and get ready for school all that is in their small minds is the teacher harsh and no-nonsense senior teacher who is on duty. Getting to school five minutes past six in the morning will earn them punishment for the whole day. A child leaves the house without having breakfast and three quarters are bare feet and they shiver in the cold as they run to arrive on time. This child’s learning condition is quite harsh. The teachers are committed to helping their students have the best grades they can get. Parents are also involved in the learning process of their children. A parent will find time to look at their child’s school work, attend academic meetings to check their child’s progress and consult with various teachers just to be updated on the character of the child while they are in school. In some areas at the coast exactly the opposite is what happens. You will meet with a student at 8.00 in the morning and he/she is strolling to school. If they are in a group then they chat noisily not aware that they are already late for the first lesson. In case there is a problem in school, a parent will always defend their child and some even go to the extent of abusing or beating up the teacher in the presence of their child. This diminishes the teachers’ morale in their work. A teacher will never care about such a student who at the end of 8 or 4 years in high school will see them very poor results. Some of such students never complete high school as they end up being hooligans who are suspended from school.
For education to have positive results all stake holders are supposed to actively i.e. parents , teachers ,the governments, all individuals who value education and even the international community
ROLE OF PARENTS IN THE EDUCATIONAL PROCESSES
Parent involvement can make a difference in a child’s education. Teachers believe that their students would perform better in school if their parents were more involved in their child’s education.
Children with uninvolved parents sometimes ‘fall through the cracks’ in school work. While virtually all school promote parent involvement, there are different types of involvement, ranging from assisting children in doing homework, Communicating to the children the importance of education, frequently visiting schools to see the academic progress of their children or even to participate in extra curriculum activities like sports and dances.
Schools can also assist Parents be actively involved in the schools’ activities through:
a) Parenting, in which schools help families with their parenting skills by providing information on children’s developmental stages and offering on learning – friendly home environments
b) Emphasizing on the importance of both parents being actively involved in their children’s’ academic performance and growth. This ensures that the child knows that both parents love and care for them.
c) Communicating, or working to educate families about their child’s progress and school services and providing opportunities for parents communicate with the school.
d) Decision making, in which schools include parents as partners in school organizations, advisory panels, and in similar committees.
e) Community collaboration, a two-way outreach strategy in which a community , Non-governmental Organizations or government is involved in education , empowerment and mentorship programs for students.
Students with involved parents no matter their income or background are more likely to:
a. Earn higher grades and test scores, and enroll in higher level programs
b. Be promoted, pass their classes and earn credits
c. Attend school regularly.
d. Have better social skills, show and improved behavior and adapt well to school
e. Graduate and go on to post –secondary education.
Parents of all income levels and ethnicities have to be involved in their child’ learning even if they aren’t often visible at all sporting activities or PTA meetings. However, schools and parents often have a different understanding of what that involvement should look like. Creating a partnership between schools and parents can have a significant impact on student achievement.
One of the best ways to structure this partnership is through involving parents in their children’s homework. While all forms of parent involvement plays significant roles in the health of the school and the community, home learning activities are fairly straightforwardin primary school, school activities that promote parent’s role maintaining high expectations for their children benefit the students also.
Parents’ involvement in education maters should be treated as a support, not a substitute for the true works of schools: good teaching and learning. Structuring the partnership between schools and parents is one best things school boards can do for the betterment of Education in Africa.
Boards need to recognize that all parents, regardless of income, education or cultural background, are involved in their children’s school activities for them to perform well. They must survey parents and teachers to understand their perspective on parent involvement and investigate how parents want to be involved, and how teachers want parents to be involved. They must also work towards creating a common understanding of how parents can best support their child’s education and how teachers can communicate with parents. This can be accomplished through discussions, meetings or other strategiesIdentify barriers to achievement within schools. Can parents help address some of these challenges? If so, how?
Give teachers training on how to develop regular home-work’s that involve parents and report on the results of doing so. in case of secondary talk clearly to parents about the grades their students need to succeed.School administration should track the effects of involvement, in order to use school’s time and resources wisely.
Focus on putting schools’ money and synergy into what works best, rather than continuing ineffective programsIt is a high time that all African parents be educated on the importance of them being actively engaged in their children’s’ education. It doesn’t matters how busy your schedule is, I believe that a child is a parent’s gift from God and all children need to be attended to in order for them to grow up well spiritually, emotionally and psychologically.
Contribution by Corazon Amukhale, from Mombasa, Kenya.