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Educator expectations of parental involvement in three Western Cape Peninsula primary schools
Educators often lament the lack of parental involvement necessary to support effective schooling. Since schools are primarily funded by the state and, in most cases, governed by the parents, questions arise regarding the parental support that schools need and the expectations educators have of such parental involvement. Legislation, as contained in the South African Schools Act, 1996, stipulates the parameters of parental involvement and authority in the governance of the school and the national Department of Education encourages close cooperation between parents and schools. This dissertation explores the questions surrounding parental involvement as it pertains to the expectations of the educators. The dissension expressed by educators demand an investigation into the functionality of the mutual support structures. In an attempt to remedy any existent discord that may exist between the educators and parents, it is necessary to glean responses directly from the educators to ascertain their perceptions of parental involvement. To elicit feedback from the educators, a questionnaire was used with both closed questions and questions which allowed for open/written responses. The questionnaire design allowed information collection to address educator needs, educator wants and what educators are currently getting from the parents as far as support and involvement is concerned. Educator expectations of the most basic and necessary involvement from the parents was weighed up with their expectations of parental involvement in a healthy educator/parent relationship and balanced against actual and current involvement and support offered and given by the parents. Educators of all three schools indicated that communication ranks as the first priority to improve parental involvement in the schools. Schools that are committed to improve or encourage parental involvement first seek to improve the parent-educator relationships. The areas most in need of parental support are the teaching of discipline and social skills at home and the encouragement of learners to excel, parental aid at fundraising drives and homework supervision. These findings support Cherian's view that parental support of the educator is served by parental interest in the learner's education which includes offers of help to learners who bring home school work (Cherian, 1991 :938).
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