Figure 4 indicates the research findings, almost 86.2 percent of the respondents stated that they organize parents meeting to discuss different issues concerning school development while 6.9 percent displayed that schools involve parents in managing schools academics. Some participants 3.4 percent contented that parents are involved in discussing discipline matters. School welfare is another issue where parents contribute their ideas; hence, 3.4 percent supported the idea of school welfare. From these findings, the study indicates that parents contribute a lot in the progress and sustainability of the schools in Ilala Municipality- Dar es Salaam.
The participants also demonstrated that meetings were used to give clarification and information about the schools development hence creating awareness of what is taking place in the schools. The study also revealed other ways apart from attending meetings such as involving parents in academic matters that can boost academic performance which conquer with Omogbehin, (2013) who revealed the effective use of formative assessments to improve student’s achievements.
However, most of the school management including school head seemed to use a single way of involving parents to their schools which was meeting and this can imply that school heads lack creativity to make parents participate in schools functions this including discipline matters, academic issues and school welfare, communication, mobilization in education finance so as to enhance education , volunteering in school activities, which might be very productive in the development of the school and progress of the students. This findings related to Brown (2017) which shows that parents communication is the best way where parents like responding and receiving written communication, school volunteering for library and lunchroom establishment and joining Parent Teacher Association and parent teacher organization. This concurred with Gyamfi and Pobbi, (2016) who revealed that parental involvement is very crucial in monitoring activities of their children.
The study wanted to know what kind of parents participates in school development. The results were indicated in table 4
- Kind of parents involved in school activities
- Items Frequency Percent
- Educated 18 62.1
- Single parents 7 24
- Middle income parents 2 6.9
- Low income parents 2 6.9
Table 5 stated that educated parents 62.1 percent were active in attending meetings and other activities this might be due to their level of education they had. However, the study revealed that the single family parents 24 percent attends meetings because of their hardship life so they would like their children to study hard expecting that they will help them in the future. This is similar to the findings by Erlend (2010) who asserted that parents were highly involved in school activities for future expectations that their children will be educated than their parents hence be successful in life. This finding indicates that most of the parents who are educated prefer to send their children to good schools where they can acquire quality education. However, those low income families and even the middle income families they have no choice so they send their children to any school around them. This finding relate to from one of the interviewee who remarked that:
I am a bit educated and I want my children to go to schools which can provide quality education because I know I am investing to my child for the future. Even though I die I will have left my child with richness. I want my children to succeed that why I always visit the school of my children to meet teachers. (Interviewee P I April, 2019).
This implies how educated people care for education which is the pillar of development special for Tanzania which is advocating for Middle Economy Industry.
The researcher also was interested to request the participants if parents involved in academic matters. The study portrayed that 17.2 percent of the participants agreed that parents are in involved in academic matters in order to improve students’ performance by convincing them to monitor their academic progress. Looking ate the statistic number for academic shows that only least of parents are involved in academic matters. This implies that parents do not make follow up of their children’s progress and this is one of the greatest limitations in education. This finding is in line with one of the interviewee who lamented that:
We prepare reports every term but there are reports lagging behind in academic office not picked by parents some parents have not taken reports for three years now how will they know the progress of their children in this way? Again we invite them for meeting they never attend, and for those who attend never contribute anything!
(Interviwee III April, 2019).
This implies that parents do not play their role and responsibilities accordingly thus increased truancy and dropout hence poor performance of their final examination. However, the study revealed that 3.4 percent of the respondents identified that parents involved in discipline issues of their students to prevent truancy and other indiscipline issues. This implies that if parents could not be responsible for the academic matters it could difficult to be responsible in discipline issues because academic and discipline are two sisters who are inseparable. As one of the interviewee said:
Parents are major stakeholder in shaping students’ academic performance and behavior. Some students miss school for more than a week and their parents do not care, we call them to school but never show up! Unfortunately, these students come during examinations, how will they perform well in these examination? It is only adding zero to school. We, heads of schools are blamed and demoted for that, who is these first person to be punished are the teacher or the parents (Interviwee IV, April,2019)
This implies that it is parent’s responsibility is to monitor their children from morning to evening while they are at home so parent’s cooperation is highly needed to help teachers to discover students risk behavior to increase academic performance. This is in line with Sapangun &Sapangun, (2015) who revealed that parents are significant stakeholders of the school community for the development and success of the school.
However, the study revealed 10.3 percent of the participants identified that parents are involved in school welfare. This shows that school welfare is enhanced with the cooperation among teachers and parents to improve the school planning meetings, infrastructure, environment social welfare and the survival of the school such that the school becomes a comfortable place for everyone. Again it means that school welfare can be a means for teacher retention, increased interpersonal relationship and increased enrolment This can be supported by Lei, Cui and Chiu (2018) who advocated that strong teacher and parents support result to both positive and negative academic emotions.
This concurred with Singh and Singh, (2014) who concluded that school infrastructure has an important role to play in teacher retention.
The researcher also wanted to know from students, which activities they prefer their parents to be involved in. figure 5 illustrate this.
Figure 5. Activities you can prefer your parents to be involved in school
Source Field data, 2019
The study demonstrated that 17.5 percent respondents identified parents to be involved in monitoring students’ progress in school. Students normally do examination and sometimes they are given homework to be done by students. Parents are supposed to know what their students do in classroom and even outside classroom which help them to grow academically. This implies that by monitoring students’ progress by parents cultivate competitive spirit and seriousness in studies. Similarly Gyamfi and Pobbi, (2016) and Kibaara and Ndirangu (2014) studies revealed that parents involvement in all monitoring activities of their children towards academic work is low. There is a lot to be done to sensitize and create awareness to parents that the performance of their children is guaranteed by their closeness in knowing students day to day progress at school. Hence parental involvement is very beneficial to the teachers in assuring support to students and it can improve interpersonal relationship among teachers and parents. Another way revealed is 15 percent that identified involving in academic issues. Parents can be involved in planning for joint examinations, teaching and learning progress, remedial classes and monthly examination hence improve academic performance. Again, the findings demonstrated 12 percent parents are involved in improving school climate. School climate means the existence of relationships, physical surrounding, academic and parental involvement where teachers, students and parents feel connected respected and their work is meaningful. As scallion (2010) pointed that school climate include the internal characteristic that distinguish one school from another. Some schools are have less classes than the students enrolled others have classes as per ratio. This implies that parents have to work together with the government to make the school welcoming and conducive to all students for academic achievement.
Challenges facing school heads in involving parents in building school climate
The second objective intended to investigate the challenges that prevent parents’ not to participate in school development. The results demonstrated in figure 6
Source Field data 2019
Figure 6.Challenges facing school heads in involving parents
Figure 6 indicate the findings on challenges facing school heads in involving parents. Respondents were asked to identify the challenges school head faced in involving parents in building the school climate. The results found a significant number of respondents 41.3 percent informed that parents were reluctant to attend meetings even when they were supposed to do so most of the parents did not find the importance of the meetings. This means that parents were not committed for school activities. This relate to Theory of Epstein (2002) who concluded that six principles in spheres of influence that is parenting, communicating, volunteering, learning at home decision making and collaborating with community if adhered will helps in students’ academic, personal and social benefit. One of the interviewee when asked if has attended meeting claimed that:
I was informed to attend meeting at school of my child but I didn’t attend because I had no one to attend my small business and I can’t dare to close my business because I will not get money to give her the following morning for fare ( Interviewee V April, 2019)
This means that parents give less priority to their children education while giving much attention to their daily routine. This also can be due to the problem of the system of education in Tanzania, which gives a loophole of parents not involving much in education.
In addition, the study found free basic education Policy is a major challenge to involve parents in building the school climate. The study found an important number of respondents 27.5 percent identifying the free basic education policy as a barrier to school management to involving parents in school. In fact free basic education has added a burden to the students and parents as well since there are no sufficient books in schools, insufficient classrooms due overcrowded classes. This implies that although free education policy has guidelines for implementation parents have not understood well as one of the interviewee proclaimed that:
Free education policy has reduced burden to parents because now the government is responsible for everything, why should I worry! Thanks God President Magufuli has wiped our tears now my children are studying freely I don’t pay anything and so there is no need of going to school to disturb teachers.(Interviewee III April 2019)
This findings show that some of the parents are happy with the education policy 2014, which portrayed free basic education.
Moreover, the study revealed another challenge as lack of seriousness by parents. The study found a significant number of respondents 24.1percent identified lack of seriousness by parents as an obstacle to involve parents in building the school climate. The finding implies that lack of seriousness by parents in their schools climate may lead to poor performance of students. Again, the findings revealed that the school is no one’s property thus there is no one responsible for renovation or improvement of school in general. This is in line with the finding by Berg &Noort, (2011) who reveled there were more challenges facing school heads due to parent’s not involving in school activities especially in urban areas. One interviewee vividly remarked this that:
Parents are not serious at all when we call them to school may be due to indiscipline or academic issues, parents instead of coming physically they send house girls, and house boys or their elder brother or sister to respond to the call what can you discuss with them you just send them back even two times finally you see a real parent coming. (Interviewee VI April, 2019)
This implies that irresponsible parents are not committed to their responsibilities, which could be the downfall of education in Ilala Municipality.
The researcher also was interested to find out whether students love their schools. The findings is demonstrated in figure 7
Figure 7 Demonstrate the extent students’ love their school
Source: Field data, 2019
Figure 7 displays the research findings which reveals that majority 75 percent indicate students loved their school while 25 percent indicates that students somehow loved their school. This findings reveals that students were satisfied with the prevailing school climate despite the difficulties in overcrowded classes, lack of teaching and learning resources, shortage of science and mathematics teachers’ shortage of building and laboratories equipment. This is in line with Garshberg, (2014) who proves that poor and insufficient school infrastructure negatively impacts students learning and schooling outcome.
One of the interviewee lamented that:
Teachers in secondary schools are stubborn! I wonder to be called to schoolto collect report am I the one studying in those schools or my children why don’t they give my child the report? Even if she is not performing well what should I do? They have to teach her until she understand it is their duty and responsibility. Let her do the final examination it will be known whether she is will pass or not (Interviewee IV April,2019)
One of the interviewee in her response said Parents are not serious when you call them to school they send house girls, and house boys or their elder brother or sister to respond to the call what can you discuss with them you just send them back and tell their parents to come himself or herself (Interviewee III April,2019)
In addition, figure 6 also pointed out that another challenge of involving parents in school was bad relationship exists among teachers and parents. Teachers are expected to assist parents by giving them an understanding on helping them to do homework, supporting their childrens’needs and understanding adolescent development of their children. This will help teachers to shape students behavior and prevent dropout and truancy. The field data revealed that there is no good relationship among parents and teachers especially in urban area. This findings is in relation with Berge & Noort, (2010) who revealed that lack of cooperation between parents and school. This is to say bad relationship result to poor performance in all matters.
Despite the challenges facing the head of schools in involving parents respondents shows that it is important to involve parents in building the school climate since the government along cannot make it as illustrated in Table 6
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