Parent Power Parent Power
Parent Power


Parent Power aims to elevate parents as powerful actors in their children’s education journey by supporting schools, departments of education and nonprofit organisations (NPOs) to engage with parents in a meaningful way. This brings a level of partnership and co-ownership for the provision of quality education for South African children.

Parent Power was established in 2020 as an incubated project by the DG Murray Trust. Parent Power is a movement that aims to empower parents in South Africa to become champions for their children’s education. We believe that every child deserves a high-quality education, and that parents have a critical role to play in making that a reality.

Our goal is to galvanise a constituency of activated parents who are passionate about education and committed to making a difference in their communities. By coming together and sharing our knowledge, experience, and resources, we can co-create a powerful force for change.


We believe that every parent has the power to make a meaningful impact on their child’s education journey. We understand that parenting can be challenging, especially when it comes to ensuring that your child receives a quality education. That’s why we’ve created a platform that empowers parents to take an active role in their child’s learning, and to work in partnership with schools to achieve this goal.

There are huge quality gaps in South African public schooling, in fact, two-thirds of our grade four learners are unable to read for meaning. A lack of parental involvement is often mentioned as a contributing factor to such poor educational outcomes, and parental “involvement” is often devolved into support on subject-based homework.

The vast majority of parents want the best for their children from day one, and most will go to great lengths to enhance their child’s life chances. There is however no denying that doing this is more challenging in contexts where parents lack education and resources.   More than half (55%) of South Africans live in poverty; and of the approximately 19% of adults with no or low education, 79% of them live in poverty.    In addition, employed parents from poor backgrounds are more likely to have inflexible work schedules and long commuting times, which makes it difficult for them to be involved parents in the current, narrow conception of “involvement”. 

Although parents say they know they should be involved, and want to be involved, they are often not as involved and supportive as they or the school would like.  Worldwide parents of all walks of life say that they find engaging with their children’s schools intimidating and that they often feel redundant in their child’s learning journey.  This is so much more the case for parents with low levels of education, who are living in impoverished communities and had negative schooling experiences themselves. 

A number of studies have found that many South African parents from a poverty context feel very disempowered. They feel they have little, if any, say in the education of their children where children are taught by teachers who are much better qualified. As a result, they rely heavily upon those who occupy positions of power around them, such as school staff to assist in their lives. This reliance is often simply ignored, leading to an unequal relationship between schools and parents, where parents are unable to hold schools accountable.

Yet, parents are the first educators of their children. Their ability to know and love their child best has unparalleled benefits. Research from the Research on Socioeconomic Policy Group (RESEP) found that encouragement and support from parents, not necessarily assistance with specific homework, improved learner achievement even for children attending schools where the education offered is not of great quality. It is important for parents, teachers and school managers to understand that parents bring value to their child’s educational journey by virtue of being a caring parent who wants the best for their children. Moreover, parents have untapped power – and rights – to hold school managers and teachers accountable for quality standard.