Exploring teachers' perceptions of parental involvement via the capability approach: A case of a low income school community.
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Parental involvement in low-income school communities in the Western Cape, South Africa, has received little attention irrespective of its significance to learner outcomes. This study explores parental involvement with regard to teachers' perceptions of parental involvement, as well as barriers and solutions to meaningful parental involvement in a low-income school community in the Western Cape. This study, in the form of a qualitative study, sought to establish how teachers perceived parental involvement, and what restricts parents with poor socio-economic backgrounds from becoming involving in their children's education. Additionally, the study sought to establish or develop ways in which parental involvement could be improved. This study adopted a qualitative method design using qualitative procedures such as semistructured interviews, focus group interviews, observation and an open-ended questionnaire. It emerged from the findings that teachers had limited understanding of parental involvement. They perceived parental involvement to be parent's school-based activities such as fund-raising and the provision of school materials for the learners. Most of the teachers were never exposed to training on how to involve parents. Teachers believed that lack of material resources and poor parental education contributed to the issue of a lack of parental involvement in the school. Furthermore, participant parents indicated that they are willing to become involved in their children's education; however, their involvement was restricted by various barrier factors such as poverty and a lack of enabling environment. Both (teachers and parents) participants also suggested programmes or useful ways in which parental involvement could be promoted, such as the provision of basic infrastructures, grant support, educational training or facilities and a supportive environment for the parents. The findings revealed that creating an enabling environment to nurture these parents' capabilities will improve parental involvement. The capability-approach framework was used not only to explain the restraining factors to parental involvement but also to propose or suggest ways or intervention measures to improve parental involvement in their children's education, especially the parents from the community of this research. The approach was use to analyse parental involvement with the view to develop parental involvement or parents' capabilities in the school community.