STRATEGIES FOR IMPROVING PARENTS ROLE IN PRIMARY SCHOOL ADMINISTRATION IN ETCHE LOCAL GOVERNMENT AREA OF RIVERS STATE
According to Epstein and Sanders (2002) families and schools management have worked together in striving to give learners quality education since the beginning of formal schooling. Families were responsible for preparing their children with the necessary skills in the early years and schools took over from there with little input from families. However, today in the context of greater accountability and demands for children to achieve peak academic performance, schools and parents have formed partnerships and share responsibilities for children’s education in more structured ways. Nancy and Lorraine (2004) show that parental school involvement consists of activities like volunteering at school, communicating with teachers and other school personnel, assisting in academic activities at home and attending school events.
Parental encouragement is assumed that parents show by helping and guiding the child and coaxing him/her not to feel disheartened at a particular point of difficulty. Ross (1965) defined the term as when father and mother approve and appreciate any activity related to education or revoke any hurdle felt by the child or guide the right or wrong. Various research findings have shown that child’s academic performance is influenced by parental encouragement to some extent. In a study of 5362 children drawn from every type of home in England and Wales, it was found that parental encouragement is important in determining the educability of children (Douglas, 1964). In his study, children whose parents are most
interested in their progress in education and encourage them to do well, are able to score higher than children whose parents are least interested and encouraging. He further stated that children with interested parents move ahead of the others from whatever their initial starting performance. This is because of the parent’s encouragement and help which makes the child to have interest in his/her studies and utilize his or her capabilities to do well.
Docking (1980) as quoted by Babirye (2006) argues that discipline as a managerial function is important in the process by which children develop and are enabled to perform in society. Although he appreciates the significance of discipline to children’s performance, he does not point out parents’ roles in ensuring children’s discipline yet they are a party in child development and school management. In most rural schools, parents tend to keep aloof and lack knowledge on education affairs as they watch the discipline and academic standards declining. Yet the importance of parental participation in school management should ultimately be vested in the improvement of academic standards of their children. Unless the roles of parents in disciplinary issues and other managerial areas is strengthened, there may be continued questions regarding satisfactory performance. Therefore, the study intended to point out parents’ roles and to show how they should carry out their responsibility in ensuring children’s discipline which is a prerequisite for better performance of children.
Epstein and Sanders (2002) discuss parents’ diverse ways of participating in school management to also include communicating with teachers, participating in academic-related activities at home, and communicating the positive value of education to the learners, adding that these are each related to school performance. While the propositions advanced by Epstein and Sanders (2002) might be accepted without controversy, in the context of the study, critical consideration of these propositions indicated the need for investigation. First, the authors indicate what parental participation in school management could influence but they do not indicate why and how it could do so.
School discipline is an important aspect for an orderly and ideal learning situation. Discipline has been defined by Webster (2003) as the training or experience that corrects, molds, strengthens or perfects especially the mental faculties or moral character. It may also refer to
the control gained by enforcing obedience or order for example in school. In a school setting, the conduct of students is always a concern of teachers, parents and school administrators.
Okumbe (2008) describes discipline as the action by management to enforce organizational standards and respect of ones superiors within the chain of authority and the readiness to obey instructions and regulations laid down by the administration. In a school or organization the significance of maintaining discipline focuses on the achievement of set goals. Discipline in school is an important instrument in the process of socialization and formation of character. It involves the control of student impulses to acquire the social skills that will help them participate actively in their work roles. Therefore discipline could be an important factor contributing to what one achieves at the end of the academic programme.
Nsubuga (2002) observes that the extreme cases of indiscipline pronounced in schools could include disrespect for teachers and fellow students, drunkardness, smoking, fighting, theft, involvement in violent strikes and the like. Involvement in such activities would automatically deprive a student of time to concentrate on academics, would upset his/her mind, destroy his/her relationship with teachers and definitely affect the student’s performance. Since Burden (2005) notes that teachers and parents work together as a group to provide mutually agreed upon obligations and expectations regarding discipline, the results of academic performance as related to discipline should not only be attributed to teachers but to parents as well .