Government has identified improving the quality of education as a national priority. In an effort to improve education outcomes for all learners, the Department of Basic Education (DBE) has introduced a number of programmes at school. However, the role of parents and guardians in their children’s education is vital.
Research has proven beyond dispute that effectively engaging parents and families in the education of their children has a positive influence on the success of the learners. Currently the level of parent and community participation in schools is low. Government is committed to redressing this. The DBE has developed a booklet, Practical Guidelines: How parents can contribute meaningfully to the success of their children in schools, to guide parents on what parents can do at home, in school and their communities to maximise learning outcomes and learner achievement.
The role of schools is to give children the best possible opportunity to learn and be successful. Successful schools have parents and teachers working together in an atmosphere of mutual respect. Consequently, the DBE has developed this booklet for everyone who is a parent, in an attempt to respond to the following questions:
- How is my child doing at school?
- How can I make sure that my child is successful at school?
- How can I make sure that my child improves?
- What can I do to make sure that my child has a positive experience at school?
- How can I support my child and encourage them through difficult times?
The aim of this booklet is therefore to empower parents with information to enable them to become more involved in their children’s education so that children can reach their full potential. The African proverb, "It takes a village to raise a child" means that the work of raising and educating a child cannot be left to the parent alone but rather needs an entire community. It is only as the ‘village’ participates and strives together that children will receive good education.
NB The term parent is used in a broad and inclusive way to mean any caregiver responsible for caring for, and supporting, a learner. This is referenced to the South African Schools Act (No. 84 of 1996)(SASA), as amended, which defines a parent as:
(a) The biological or adoptive parent or legal guardian of a learner;
(b) The person legally entitled to custody of a learner; or
(c) The person who undertakes to fulfil the obligations of a person referred to in paragraphs (a) and (b) towards the learner’s education at school.