Parents and Community Engagement in Literacy Skills Learning

Juhudi Cosmas


Literacy skills constitute one of the most important life competences that schools teach. The issues of literacy and numeracy are themes of concern in Tanzania due to the low literacy levels observed among Tanzanian pupils.  This paper focuses on parents’ and community engagement in literacy learning. Within the framework of qualitative research approach, the phenomenological design informed the study procedures. A sample of 12 teachers and eight (8) parents was purposively chosen using convenient and snowball strategies. Data were collected using semi-structured interviews. Accordingly, the content analysis approach was employed to analyse the views of teachers and parents on the practices of parents’ and community engagement in literacy learning and factors that strain parents and community engagement in literacy skills learning. The findings indicate that there were no practices of engaging parents and community in their children’s literacy skills learning. This implies that there were no parents and community engagement framework and strategies for enhancing literacy skill learning and acquisition among the children. The factors that strained parents and community in their children’s literacy skills learning were associated with inadequacy of finance, lack of support and supervision to pre-primary education programmes by the government; absence of parents and community engagement framework for enhancing literacy skills learning; the beliefs that learning happens in school and teaching is done only by teachers; and parents’ poverty and ignorance. The overall conclusion is that the literacy learning of children is a shared responsibility. Therefore, parents and community have a reciprocal responsibility to engage with the school to promote literacy skills learning. Parents and community engagement framework for enhancing literacy skills among the children is undeniable. The study recommends that a combination of actors (parents, community, government and non-governmental organisations) needs to intervene and play well their roles to establish strong parents and community engagement framework and strategies for enhancing literacy skills learning.


Key words: Literacy, Engagement, Community Engagement

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