The quality of education in South Africa through the eyes of parents


Parents play a unique role in their children’s education as the first teachers and champions of their learning. They are also a vital part of a school’s ecosystem whether or not they are involved in school governing body structures.

For this reason, Parent Power has conducted the first-ever survey of parents’ perception of education in South Africa. The survey was conducted by interviewing parents with a myriad of backgrounds, in both a quantitative and qualitative study. Participants in the survey were drawn from all nine provinces and different socio-economic backgrounds, including those with children in no-fee schools, urban and rural public schools, and private schools.

Unlike many other research studies that have focused purely on grades and pass marks, the Quality of education in South Africa through the eyes of parents report focuses on experiences and the overall happiness of children in schools. These experiences are captured in five domains that create the Parent Power Index: happiness, safety, confidence in principals, their knowledge of the school and the power they have as parents.

“The matric results only come at the end of the whole process. However, all these other factors added up can lead to a shift in results. If we have competent principals and if we have a safe environment for our children, they are most likely to be able to learn better and experience school in a better way,” says Andisiwe Hlungwane, project lead for the Parent Power and Teachers CAN at the DG Murray Trust.

Hlungwane says the Parent Power initiative is aimed at ensuring that parents have agency in the schools their children attend by being comfortable with enough to advocate for their children’s needs.

“We want parents to see the role that they can play in engaging with their child’s happiness at school,” she said.

The Parent Power “Quality of education in South Africa through the eyes of parents” was launched on 21 July in community with schools, parents and partners in the North West Province.