Greater parental involvement is very crucial in enhancing children’s academic work, said education experts. Not only does this lead to better academic performance, they contend, but it also contributes to lesser behavioural problems and the children are likely to complete their high school.
This is what inspired Nhlakaniso Faku, principal of Raphela Secondary School, based in Orange Farm Extension 3, south of Johannesburg.
Yesterday Faku called a meeting of parents whose children are in grade 12 this year. He told Inside Education the purpose of the meeting was to appeal for closer collaboration between parents and teachers, saying this would lead to better grade 12 results at the end of the year.
“It has been our school’s tradition that every year when schools re-open we meet with parents of the grade 12s to share our vision and plans for the year with them. Sometimes children present certain problems which we as teachers cannot resolve with the parents’ involvement. Most problems emanate from home and we believe that if we can hold hands, we can overcome most of these problems,” said Faku. He said similar meetings are held with parents from lower grades as well though their focus is on the exit class.
He said in the past his school produced around 96% and above but they had since regressed and got below 90%.
“Last year was bad because we got an overall pass rate of 75% pass and the reason for this was mainly because our maths and science learners performed badly. This dragged down our overall pass rate. But despite this we managed to produce 41 maths and science learners with bachelors passes,” he said.
Faku said this year he planned better to ensure maths and science learners would get priority.
“This is the only area that needs special attention because in other subjects our learners did exceptionally well with some getting 100% passes. What we will be doing this year is to continue with our Saturday and Sunday classes and also enlist the services of a local maths and science private tutor. We roped him last year but it was very late, in August but still he managed to give us 41 bachelors passes. This means if we can bring him in early we can achieve more and I am confident we would go back to our glory days,” said Faku.
He said they scheduled another parents’ meeting at the end in April to analyse their children’s performance.
“The idea is to identify areas of weaknesses of learners and discuss this with each parent. We would then plan around how we are going to help the concerned learner troubleshoot those challenges he or she has,” said Faku.
Most parents who spoke during the meeting welcomed the idea of the meeting and committed themselves to get more involved and assist their children with school work. They assured teachers of their support and that teachers should also alert them if their children were not co-operating with them.