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South Africa: Engaging Our Parents: Bringing Parents to the Education Table
Source: SA - the Good News
Source Date: Thursday, June 27, 2013
Focus: Citizen Engagement
Country: South Africa
Created: Jun 27, 2013

"We hope that parents, especially the younger parents, will be empowered in basic parenting skills and will have a better understanding of the curriculum. This will help them to contribute meaningfully to the education of their children,” says Ms Ntombi Nama, co-ordinator of the School Governing Body Unit and spokesperson for the Department of Education in the Port Elizabeth District.
The project was conceived in 2012 when the GM South Africa Foundation was approached by J-PAL Africa to measure the effect of the Foundation’s “Parenting Heart to Heart” programme. Mrs Kathy Balshaw, a project manager for the GM South Africa Foundation, and pioneer of the parenting programme, explained, “J-PAL is a global research agency. It was established in 2003 at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Their mission is to reduce poverty by ensuring that policy is based on scientific evidence. In order to achieve this, they conduct rigorous impact evaluations through Randomised Control Trials and endeavour to ensure government policy is based on scientific evidence.”
Mrs Balshaw maintains that the programme will have a lasting impact on parental involvement in education in the Port Elizabeth District, and that it could serve as a model for school communities in other regions and beyond. She believes that “With scientific verification from a South-African based study, there is the hope that there will be much stronger support for increased parental involvement in our schools resulting in improved learner achievement.”
The programme consists of three two-hour workshop sessions designed to:
• Encourage and equip parents as role models for their children
• Educate parents on the school curriculum, activities and expectations
• Engage parents in their children’s educational life both at school and at home
Mrs Angi Jones, Circuit Manager for Circuit 8 in the Port Elizabeth District, has high hopes for the programme, saying “We foresee that there will be a lower drop out and absenteeism rate, better academic results, stronger parenting and ultimately, stronger families who value education".
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