The sixth session in the SKI Touchpoint series was conducted by the Education Practice Area, on the theme of ‘Accelerating Foundational Literacy and Numeracy outcomes with Parent Engagement.’
The session was moderated by Sattva Knowledge Institute’s Ms. Sukhada Ghosalkar, Lead for Foundational Literacy and Numeracy, Education Practice Area, while Ms. Deepika Mogilishetty, Chief of Policy and Partnerships at EkStep was the chief discussant. The webinar focused on:
- Uncovering the meaning of Parent Engagement and rethinking about our perceptions about the role of parents
- Pathways to institutionalise Parent Engagement
- Criticality of engagement with fathers
The session began by introducing the criticality of Parent Engagement in the context of the persistent learning crisis in India. The most recent data on learning levels reveals that only 21% of children from Grade 3 can read Grade 2 text and 26% of children from Grade 3 can do basic subtraction, highlighting the need for working with parents, in addition to school-level actors.
The case for investing in parent engagement initiatives was made stronger by providing a comparative view of the large extent of efforts and investments made over years in factors such as content, teacher training, assessments, versus small portions allotted for parent and community engagement. Additionally, it was also emphasised that the policy landscape has been a positive tailwind for encouraging call for action in parent engagement.
The conversation around rethinking the ways in which we look at parents’ involvement put a spotlight on considering the parent as an individual, an adult with unique motivations, strengths, limitations and aspirations, rather than just a means to an end. Catering to these needs of the parents was called out as a significant step for ensuring their engagement.
As the dialogue progressed, Deepika shared examples of powerful positive interventions enabling the institutionalisation of parent engagement by means of creating spaces for parents to come together and feel supported, by helping them engage in existing structures like school management committees or engaging them in the child’s learning. These examples comprised the work by Pratham Education Foundation, Dost Foundation, Simple Education Foundation, Saajha, Key Education Foundation, Latika Roy Foundation and more. Towards the end of this section, the role of technology in the process of institutionalisation was also discussed.
The last segment on engaging with fathers witnessed a vibrant interaction between the participants. An important aspect that was fathomed was how one could also shift the pre-existing status quo and gender norms while working and engaging with fathers. Deepika reinforced the significance of having an ‘abundance mindset’ vs. ‘scarcity mindset’, and focusing on the strengths of the situation and taking progressive steps.
The questions at the end also focused on thinking about assessment of parent engagement differently, so that the nuances for creating positive engagement are captured effectively.
If you missed the session, you can access the recording of the webinar here: