3 Barriers to Parental Involvement (What Your School Needs to Know)

Rahama Obadak
Marketing & Comms, Flexisaf

I’ve written posts in the past that stress & expand on why parents should be more involved in their child’s education ( here, here&here ). There are emotional, psychological as well as behavioral benefits to the child. Not to mention, the effect parental involvement can have on the child’s academic performance.In this case, researchers have carried out so many studies on parental involvement in schools, with many in agreement that students with parents who are involved in their school activities tend to have higher academic results and fewer behavioral problems.Side note: If you’ve been reading my posts, then you must know I always like to support my opinions with hard facts to show you just how paramount the topics I write about are. Plus, people like working with facts.

Obstacles to Parental Involvement

As excellent academic performance lies at the heart of the school's standards, there are several barriers to parental involvement which schools need to know or be reminded of so they see how they can help. Some of the top reasons includeLack of time:With the Nigerian economy in recession, many families have to struggle even harder to make ends meet. One or both parents may have to work extra long hours at one or more jobs, with a hectic & irregular schedule that makes it difficult for them to find time to be involved at school or oversee their child’s work at home.Surprisingly enough, some parents may want to use their free time to catch up sleep or run errands (If you are one of such parents and reading this, you need to rethink & prioritize on some important things & remember that your kids will most certainly do a lot better when you are interested in what they are up to in school).Speaking of time, I'm also going to point out that schools (not all) often schedule events/programs/activities at times that are convenient for the school but not always for the parents.Parental attitude/behavior:Not having full knowledge of the other parent’s schedule and assuming that the other parent will handle school activities. This happens quite often. Sometimes life gets so busy, one forgets even some of the most basic things like communication (unintentionally, of course).In some cases, parents refuse to participate in formal groupings such as PTA meetings. Not because they lack time but mainly because they have this feeling that their views and contributions are likely to be ignored or for other personal reasons like “I don’t fit in” and “PTA meetings are always so formal & boring”.Lack of School Commitment:Some schools slack sometimes on open & transparent communication. If parents don’t exactly know how they can be involved, they are bound to contribute less.Teachers & other staff also have quite busy schedules to see parents while some are not adequately trained on how to work & communicate with parents. Not to mention others aren’t as welcoming as they could be (demanding work on poor pay is bound to make any one grouchy, just saying).Help Reduce your Teachers’ Workload with SAFSMS Assessment ModuleThese are all common reasons that stand to make parents feel their involvement is not really that important, especially those parents that are pro-active and make time out to know what their child is doing and how he/she/they can help.Read How to Improve Parent-Teacher Communication

Any Recommendations?

Recommendation #1I’m just going to steal this part from one of my posts:“Now for the other parents out there, that probably have busy work (or social) schedules and can’t seem to find the time to actually catch up and stay updated on their child’s academic work, you need to get with the programme-Technology as a matter of fact, can help those parents stay updated on their child’s academic progress by tracking performance and viewing session calendar-anywhere, any time. Having that convenience makes most parents feel less guilty about not being present and knowing what the child is up to at school.”Get the picture?Recommendation #2Here's another one:“Take it from us, the key is to be involved in your child’s education. Yes, you should visit the school and spend time speaking to the teachers, understand your child at school and on those days when you can’t be present in that manner, SAFSMS is at your convenience which allows the school to communicate to parents directly via SMS on matters like:

  • General school information, news update, confirmation on tuition & other financial supposes,
  • Configured reminders about special events like visiting or inter house sports days,
  • & most especially results (assignments, tests and final exams) are all communicable types of information”

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