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Family engagement imperative for wholesome growth of students

โ€œโ€ฆ ๐™„ ๐™™๐™ค๐™ฃโ€™๐™ฉ ๐™œ๐™š๐™ฉ ๐™ฅ๐™๐™ค๐™ฃ๐™š ๐™ฉ๐™ค ๐™จ๐™š๐™š ๐™ฌ๐™๐™–๐™ฉ ๐™ž๐™จ ๐™—๐™š๐™ž๐™ฃ๐™œ ๐™จ๐™š๐™ฃ๐™ฉ ๐™ž๐™ฃ ๐™ฉ๐™๐™š ๐™œ๐™ง๐™ค๐™ช๐™ฅ ๐™˜๐™๐™–๐™ฉ, ๐™ž๐™ฉโ€™๐™จ ๐™ฌ๐™ž๐™ฉ๐™ ๐™›๐™–๐™ฉ๐™๐™š๐™ง ๐™–๐™ฃ๐™™ ๐™๐™š ๐™ž๐™จ ๐™–๐™ก๐™ฌ๐™–๐™ฎ๐™จ ๐™—๐™ช๐™จ๐™ฎ ๐™ฅ๐™ก๐™–๐™ฎ๐™ž๐™ฃ๐™œ ๐™‹๐™๐˜ฝ๐™‚ ๐™ฌ๐™๐™ž๐™ก๐™š ๐™ข๐™ฎ ๐™ข๐™ค๐™ข ๐™—๐™ช๐™จ๐™ฎ ๐™ฌ๐™–๐™ฉ๐™˜๐™๐™ž๐™ฃ๐™œ ๐™จ๐™š๐™ง๐™ž๐™–๐™กโ€.

Tenzin Lhaden

The recent National Education Assessment 2021 โ€“ Grade III report published in 2023 by the Bhutan Council for School Examinations and Assessment, Ministry of Education and Skills Development reports that family members support students in their studies.

In the Student Questionnaire, students were asked if family members supported them in their studies.

Ninety-four percent of students reported that their families encouraged them to get good marks and family members also attended parent-teacher meetings with Ninety-two percent responding affirmative. Sangay Dema, a teacher at Zunglen Primary School said, โ€œSome parents are genuinely concern about their childโ€™s education while some arenโ€™t. In our school, we have parentโ€™s representative to discuss on important matters because family engagement in their childโ€™s education is must. Involvement includes family participation in school events or activities, while teachers provide learning resources and information about their studentโ€™s grades.โ€

She added, โ€œA studentโ€™s learning experience is enriched when both the teacher and family bring their perspectives to the table. With family engagement, home and school come together as a team. Therefore, schools need to build partnership with parents and develop mutual responsibility for childrenโ€™s success in the educational system. In this way, parental involvement is increased, parentsโ€™ effort to support schools is encouraged, and they are directly making a positive impact to a successful educational system.โ€

Ninety percent of students received help from their families in doing homework, whereas eighty two percent were supported in doing project work. Most of the students stated that their families asked about their school lives (89%) and knew their teachers (88%). However, the proportion of students whose families read story books to them or told stories was relatively smaller to less than seventy five percent. The parental activities are imperative for positive upbringing of children.

Ngawang Lhaki Selden, a 7 year old student studying in Jigme Namgyal Lower Secondary School said, โ€œMy mother always help me in doing my homework and encourages me to get good marks.โ€

Her mother, Sonam Yangden said, โ€œFamily engagement describes a situation in which families help students reach their academic goals. That is why; I am often concern about my daughterโ€™s development.โ€

From the findings of the Student Questionnaire, the Ministry of Education found that students had healthy family interactions.

Almost two out of three students (64%) said their parents or family members ate meals with them several times a week. Nearly one third of them (32%) had fewer chances of having meals with their parents or family members. However, four percent of students reported that they did not have any chance to do so.

More than 40 percent of students (44%) informed that their family members spent time talking to them several times a week, while nearly half of them (48%) reported their parents did so a few times in a month or a year. About ten percent of them (8%) expressed that their family members did not spend time talking to them. These disengagement activities of from parents are seen to be indifferent to childrenโ€™s positive development and largely contribute to weak family bounding and children may feel neglected.

A Dzongkha Teacher accounted an incident where her student was asked for not doing homework (assignment to be completed at home) which was sent in a class group chat. The students responded, โ€œI donโ€™t get phone to see what is being sent in the group chat, itโ€™s with father and he is always busy playing PUBG while my mom busy watching serial.โ€
Limited communication with family members in the early years has negative consequences on studentsโ€™ wellbeing (Bireda & Pilley, 2018).

A majority of students reported that at least few times a month, their parents or family members spent time talking to them (69%), one such topic being the importance of education (76%), and asked about problems that they face at schools (63%).

However, more than 90 percent of students (94%) were reminded by family members of the importance of education. Around half of the students (51%) responding to the survey pointed out that family members stressed the importance of education several times a week.

In general, family members were concerned about any problems their children might be facing at the school. More than 80 percent of students (86%) reported that their family members talked to them about any possible problems at the school.

A significant proportion of students (87%) responded that their family members were interested in knowing how they were getting along with other students. More than one- third of them (36%) were asked questions by family members about their interactions with peers several times a week.

Thus, these results suggest that it is important to continue giving importance to children regarding their studies and have positive consequences to their development and wellbeing.

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