SA Journal of Education, Vol 42, No 3 (2022)

Parental involvement in children’s primary education: A case study from a rural district in Malawi

Guðlaug Erlendsdóttir, M. Allyson Macdonald, Svanborg R. Jónsdóttir, Peter Mtika


In the study reported on here, we analysed parents’ involvement in their children’s primary education in 4 primary schools in rural Malawi, focusing on the home and the school. Through interviews and focus-group discussions, information was obtained from 19 parents, 24 teachers (6 from each school), and 4 head teachers. Bronfenbrenner’s ecological systems theory was used to design the study and to interpret the data, focusing mainly on the micro- and mesosystem elements. The home and school settings represent the autonomous microsystem, whereas parental involvement is part of the mesosystem. The microsystem appeared to be active both with learner-parent and learner-teacher actions; however, mesosystemic interactions were limited. We found that parents and teachers needed to develop stronger mutual relationships and interactions to support learners better. Schools also need to communicate positive aspects of children’s learning to the parents. Enhancing positive reinforcement could enhance parental involvement.

ORCiD iDs of authors:
Guðlaug Erlendsdóttir -
M. Allyson Macdonald -
Svanborg R. Jónsdóttir -
Peter Mtika -

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