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

Guðlaug Erlendsdóttir* (Corresponding Author), M. Allyson Macdonald, Svanborg R Jónsdóttir, Peter Mtika

*Corresponding author for this work

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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.
Original languageEnglish
Article number2133
Number of pages11
JournalSouth African Journal of Education
Issue number3
Early online date31 Aug 2022
Publication statusPublished - 31 Aug 2022


  • ecological systems theory
  • home settings
  • Malawi
  • parental involvement
  • parent-teacher communication
  • primary school education
  • rural schools


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