Educate a Child in Africa, Inc. (ECA) envisions a future where every African child of school-going age is enrolled, retained and excelling in school. This can only be possible if all the stakeholders in the education of the child are (pro)actively involved. Unfortunately, this is not always the case. Many parents do not fully participate in their children’s education. Such disengagement results in poor performance and subsequent dropout of children from school. It is for this reason that Educate a Child in Africa, Inc. conceived the Family Engagement program that is inspired and informed by the work of Professor Karen L. Mapp at the Harvard Graduate School of Education.
ECA’s Family Engagement initiative connects teachers and parents to work as one cohesive team for the betterment of pupils. ECA trains teachers on how to intentionally — and systematically — forge sustainable mutually beneficial partnerships with parents. Recently, ECA carried out its Family Engagement training at the following public primary schools in the south west region of Cameroon: Government Primary School Bota-Land, Government Primary School Batoke, Government Practising School Bonadikombo, Government Bilingual Primary School Mabeta, and Government Practising School Unity Quarters.
The Head teachers and teachers concurred with ECA’s assessment that in most cases there is a disconnect between teachers and parents. Although both parties are on the same team, it doesn’t always seem that way. Muabe Judith of Government Practising School Unity Quarters said, “Our relationship with the parents has not been cordial. Parents do not communicate necessary information about their children”. The teachers observed that some parents show no more interest than merely wanting their children to leave home and go to school. “The parents care less about their children doing homework, their tidiness and punctuality”, explained Miriam Sabim, teacher of Government Practicing School Bonadikombo. On her part, Ngove Julien, a teacher of Government Primary School Batoke commented that teachers are not often equipped with the tools to bridge the gap between parents and teachers.
That is where Educate a Child in Africa, Inc. comes in. ECA works with local governments, education leaders, educators, and teachers to create symbiotic partnerships that lead to student achievement and school improvement. Clearly, children benefit when teachers and parents work together. ECA’s goal is to support in building and/or strengthening this quintessential partnership.