n Africa Education Review - Schools reaching out : comprehensive parent involvement in South African primary schools

Volume 1, Issue 2
  • ISSN : 1814-6627



Legislation to reform schooling in a democratic South Africa has focused attention on the rights and responsibilities of parents as empowered stakeholders in education. However, it is argued that comprehensive parent involvement is a prerequisite for improving the culture of teaching and learning in schools. Against the background of a literature review which examines legislation affecting parents, this article draws on a qualitative inquiry of parent involvement in a small sample of public primary schools in South Africa selected by means of purposeful sampling. The findings indicated that the schools were doing more to involve parents than is legally required. Strong leadership from principals together with formal organisation of parent involvement has established parent-friendly schools, regular home-school communication and innovative parent volunteering. Certain reservations to parent involvement were detected in principals' attitudes. The study suggests that, together with enabling legislation, schools can develop valuable initiatives to make parents more active and equal partners.

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