Original Research

Parental involvement and learners’ performance in rural basic schools of Zambia

Never H. Simweleba, Robert Serpell
South African Journal of Childhood Education | Vol 10, No 1 | a608 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/sajce.v10i1.608 | © 2020 Never H. Simweleba, Robert Serpell | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 06 December 2017 | Published: 03 August 2020

About the author(s)

Never H. Simweleba, Department of Psychology, University of Zambia, Lusaka, Zambia
Robert Serpell, Department of Psychology, University of Zambia, Lusaka, Zambia


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Abstract

Background: Parental involvement is one of the important factors in pupils’ academic achievement.

Aim: The study sought to assess whether an intervention to enhance the interaction of parents with Grade 4 learners (aged 10–15 years) in homework would improve the learners performance in Chitonga and Mathematics.

Setting: This study was conducted with two rural primary schools in the Kalomo District of Southern Province, Zambia.

Methods: The participants were Grade 4 learners and their parents. A total of 168 participants were enlisted (84 learners and 84 parents). Elementary tests in Mathematics and Chitonga, the quality of parent–child interaction in homework, the quality and frequency of parent–school communication in homework, and the use of home resources in the instruction of children to increase Chitonga and Mathematics skills were assessed. One school served as a control while the other was the target of intervention. Parents in the intervention group received a 10-week programme of sensitisation on how to support their children in homework using available local resources and on parent–child interactions. Questionnaires and interviews were sent to collect data from parents while tests in Mathematics and Chitonga, systematically developed by the national regulatory body, were set to assess the learners’ performance.

Results: Post-test scores of learners in Mathematics and Chitonga in the intervention school were significantly higher, in addition to increased parent–child interaction and the use of home resources in instruction.

Conclusion: The authors conclude that interventions which empower parents with knowledge and skills for greater involvement in their children’s homework can be effective in improving the learners’ performance.


Keywords

rural communities; parental involvement; academic performance; homework; home–school communication; home learning resources; parent–child interaction

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