A substantial gulf exists between students’ parents and their schools, a new study by a researcher in the Department Human Development at the College of Home Science, Nirmala Niketan, has found.
The study, done over a four-year period, found that on a scale for assessing the interaction between parents and schools, the 10 schools surveyed fell in the ‘slightly below moderate’ category of interactivity.
“Although the benefits of parents and school partnership have been repeatedly emphasised, observation indicates that the level of these is minimal,” said Dr Kamini Prakash Rege, assistant professor at the College of Home Science Nirmala Niketan, who conducted the study as part of her PhD thesis. She received her PhD degree last year and is process of publishing the research.
The 10 schools surveyed comprised private aided and unaided English-medium schools affiliated to the SSC and ICSE boards. Rege interviewed seven experts and 500 participants (20 supervisors, 60 teachers, 400 parents and 20 Parent Teacher Association (PTA) representatives). Schools scored an average of 1,525.10 points on the index, from a total possible score of 3,958 points. The highest scoring school achieved 2,175, (moderate level) while the lowest score was 1,113 (low).
“The parent-school partnership is valuable for students, parents, teachers and the school at large. Parents’ involvement in the school has a beneficial effect on student learning, achievement, attitudes, homework and aspirations,” said Rege.
Vrinda Datta, professor at the Centre for Human Ecology at the Tata Institute of Social Sciences, who was also interviewed as part of the study, said that teachers and parents have to play a complementary role. “In early childhood education especially there needs to be a continuity between the home and the school because it is not just about the academic and cognitive skills of the child but also his or her emotional and social development,” she added.
Rege plans to publish her study in the form of guidelines to help parents and schools forge a better, more dynamic bond with each other.