Parental involvement in reducing learner absenteeism in selected primary schools of Kazungula district in the Southern Province of Zambia

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Date
2017
Authors
Muyabi, Peggy
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Publisher
The University of Zambia
Abstract
Parental involvement is an important component of children's early school success and is recognized as a significant ingredient in reducing learner absenteeism and improving the quality of children's education. To this effect, the aim of the study was to investigate the effects of parental involvement in reducing learner absenteeism in selected primary schools of Kazungula District. The objectives were to: establish ways through which parents are involved in reducing learner absenteeism, explore the benefits of parental involvement in reducing learner absenteeism, ascertain challenges that limit parental involvement in reducing learner absenteeism and establish interventions put in place by schools to improve parental involvement in reducing learner absenteeism in three selected primary schools. A sample of 15 learners, 15 parents, 03 grade teachers and 03 head teachers were purposively drawn from three selected primary schools in Kazungula district. A descriptive research design was employed for the study. Data was collected through face-to-face interviews and focus group discussions. The data was analyzed through thematic analysis which revealed emerging themes from the study. The findings of the study revealed that there was parental involvement in the sampled primary schools as parents participated in PTA meetings, helping children with homework, paying school fees, attending open days, volunteering at school, providing school requirements, and food. With regard to the benefits of parental involvement in reducing learner absenteeism, the study revealed that parental involvement improved school attendance, brought about understanding of the importance of attendance and relieved teachers of duties that could be performed by parents. It also increased parent contact with school, made parents become more supportive of schools and improved positive behaviour among learners. The study established that major barriers standing in the way of parental involvement as revealed by the study were lack of communication, busy schedules among parent, and non-parent invitation to involvement. Other barriers included long distance to school, poor relationships between schools, and poverty among parents. To address the barriers, schools put in place measures such as improving communication between home and school, becoming more welcoming to parents, and encouraging parents to serve in school committees. Other were inviting parent to volunteer in school activities and attend general meetings.
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Keywords
Parental involvement--School attendance--Zambia
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