Since last few months, I have been visiting a lot of students at their homes in a village of Uttar Pradesh. One of the common observations I have made here is the huge adverse impact of ecosystem on their studies. Apart from friends, neighbors and locality, guardians (mostly parents and in some cases, relatives) are one of the major stakeholders in developing a suitable ecosystem for students. In my previous blogs, I have discussed how top performing students in my school are often the ones whose parents have actively helped to create an environment for their child’s learning.
Apart from the teacher, it’s crucial to include ways to involve parents as major facilitators. Any intervention focused on student’s education should consider parents in order to achieve the goal of quality education.
School Management Committees commonly known as ‘SMCs’ (mandated by RTE act) are often credited as a good way to involve parents in child’s education while also strengthening relationship between schools and communities. SMCs consist of parents in majority where they mainly play two roles, one as a decision maker for holding teachers accountable while the other as a facilitator for better learning outcomes for students. However, in reality this unique experiment has not been able to achieve its objective due to corruption, lack of awareness among communities as well as lesser autonomy as in many cases SMCs can’t take actions against the accused.
Some of the efforts by state governments coupled with interventions by NGOs has resulted in positive effects as well. Delhi is a good example of this. As per my understanding, more decentralization in education policy making, capacity building, awareness programs and autonomy for SMCs will improve the situation.
Other possible interventions to involve parents in student’s learning is to focus on parenting skills in context of child development as our brain development mostly happens only until the age of three. Many disadvantaged families (due to financial, social or geographical conditions) often don’t have the capacity and/or capability for good parenting. I’ve seen a lot of mothers malnourished which is detrimental to their child’s growth.
Most of my students are not able to communicate their challenges and dreams to their parents which shows that parents need to be more trustworthy and friendly with their children. This would definitely help kids to cope up with stress (academic/non-academic) and get mentor-ship from their parents.
Many times, parents start saying inappropriate words in front of kids. They also don’t focus so much on their child’s learning owing to reasons such as daily wage dependency in the job and larger family size. Parents are needed to be trained more on the lines of guiding their offspring for their better future.
Some of the innovative ways to involve parents as facilitator in the learning of students is to design activities which focus on improving a student’s basic learning requirements as well as help parents understand their role. Gladly, Saarthi., an NGO has been doing this experiment. Focusing on mother’s health and capacity building is also as a good support system for student’s learning as per my observations and work at grassroots.
We also need to understand that teachers have to be trustworthy not just for children but also for their parents. For example, when I started taking classes for 12th grade students preparing for competition exams, I visited parents of female students who were not agreeing to send their girls for classes after school. They are quite co-operative now. Many times, school needs to reach out to parents in order to make the communication stronger.
Parents need to empathize more with their children and I strongly believe that if the ecosystem is right, a child gets an environment where he/she can fight against all struggles in a healthy manner. In order to facilitate a healthy environment for student’s learning, parents, teachers and school administration need to create a space where relationships are built over trust, respect, transparency and learning from each other. Because “Children are indeed the future of India and we should be able to make them capable to face new challenges and take India to new heights.”
 Empowering Communities, Enhancing Education: Strengthening School Management Committees in India
 Elementary failure
 Why Delhi’s Model Of School Governance Is A Lesson Worth Following
 Focus on educating children below six
 Saarthi — Transforming Parents’ Involvement in their Child’s Development
 The role of parents in early childhood learning