Repository logo

Parental involvement in rural schools during the COVID-19 pandemic: experiences of school principals in selected public schools in KwaZulu-Natal.

Thumbnail Image



Journal Title

Journal ISSN

Volume Title



Parental involvement in rural schools is one of the major concerns when one considers education of rural learners. The sudden outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic made it difficult for learners to go to schools in a normal way, and this meant that home learning was one of the possible options available for teaching and learning to take place. Thus, parental involvement proved to be the solution in ensuring that learners continued learning at home. This study presents the storied narratives of three rural school principals in KwaZulu-Natal based on parental involvement in learners’ learning during the COVID-19 pandemic. The study aimed to examine, What are school principals’ experiences of parental involvement in schools located in rural settings during the COVID-19 pandemic? Two sub-questions were then used to unpack this broader question namely, How are the rural parents participating in their children’s learning process during the COVID- 19 pandemic? and What do school principals do to promote parental involvement in schools located in rural settings during the COVID-19 pandemic? This study was guided by Epstein’s model of Parental Involvement and Empowerment theory. Narrative inquiry was used as a methodology. In-depth narrative interviews were used to generate field texts (data). Data analysis occurred at two levels: narrative analysis and analysis of narratives. The first level involved the construction of the stories. The second level involved the deconstruction of the narratives in order to answer the two sub-questions. The findings of the study revealed that low socioeconomic and educational statuses of most of rural parents had a huge influence on their lack of involvement in their children’s learning during the COVID-19 pandemic. During home learning, most rural parents could not provide required learning resources like laptops, smartphones, internet connection, textbooks, and other helpful material for their children due to lack of money. Also due to their low educational level, parents could not help their children with regards to their school work. The school principals in the study revealed that since they understood the conditions of parents in their schools they devised convenient strategies to encourage parental involvement. However, the response was not positive from some of the parents due to socioeconomic and educational factors. One of the important recommendations that stem from this study is that during the times of crisis, school principals should ensure that they always adapt to new programmes that will fully and adequately encompass the leadership skills, practices and actions suited to the current crisis, and should always strive to engage parents in all the programmes that are made to enhance learners’ academic development.


Masters Degree. University of KwaZulu-Natal, Durban.