By right, the child belongs to a family and not to the ‘stranger’, the teacher. The school is supposed to be an extension of what is happening at home. The parents that I am writing about here, are those who had little opportunity to go to school who do not know how to involve themselves in their children’s education.
The magic word for their need is empowerment, but the question is, who will empower them and how. I see this empowerment taking place in two institutions (among others). These are ABET centres and churches. ABET centres should not limit themselves to knowledge packages that prepare adults for work opportunities only. Their curriculum should also include some courses on parenthood and development of a child. These could help change their attitudes about attending school meetings and involving themselves in their children’s education.
Most parents go to church. The church is one of the institutions that need to develop people in totality. Just as parents bring their children to Sunday school, the church should further conscientise parents to involve themselves in the education of their children. The church must cease to look at itself as a spiritual hub only and must take advantage of its highly influential position as one of the society’s institutions alongside the school.
In conclusion I want to say that supporting a child start from smaller things like asking: how did things go at school? Which subject did you enjoy the most today? Do you have any home work to do today? These are some of the probes which could lead to greater teacher-parent collaboration.