Contribution of unschooled parents in the education of their children

Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Education (M. Ed.)


Institute for Educational Development, Karachi


The involvement of parents in the education of their children is getting the attention of researchers and policy makers. Parents are considered to be the first teachers of their children and have ample knowledge of their children's strength and weakness. They can make a difference in their children's lives. Many studies have been done on parental involvement in the education of their children, yet very few studies have been conducted on how unschooled parents contribute towards the education of their children. This study, based on qualitative case study research, explores the ways unschooled parents, particularly from low socioeconomic backgrounds contribute to the education of their children; the impact of their support on their children learning outcomes; and the challenges they face in supporting their education. The study was conducted in a secondary school in Karachi, Pakistan. The sample comprised five parents, their children in class two to eight, concerned class teachers and the head teacher of the school. The data were collected through interviews, observations, and document analysis. The analysis of the qualitative data revealed that unschooled parents support their children in several ways. They provide financial, emotional, and moral support. They also monitor their children's activities. The Parents have high aspirations for their children, they wish a better future for their children. For this they sacrifice their own desires for their children's education. They work hard to fulfill their children's educational needs. Contrary to general expectations, their support encourages their children to perform well in school. They are position holders in their classes. With their parents' support and interest, these children also seem to be motivated to work harder, which in turn leads to positive outcomes. The Parents face many challenges in supporting their children, like financial problems, them not being educated themselves, and the school demands. This study challenges the general perception and belief that only educated and well off parents are able to contribute to the education of their children. This study has implications for public and private sector schools in Pakistan, where majority of parents are unschooled and underprivileged. Unschooled parents are often quite committed to their children's education and work very hard to support them. If schools are able to capitalize this bank of parental goodwill and enthusiasm, they, together with parents, can provide quality education to the children. The School leaders and policy makers can bring parental voices in the school in formulation of their strategy for school improvement, welcome and celebrate the efforts of unschooled parents towards the attainment of education goals of their children. This synergy between parents and schools can provide an enabling environment to all the children in schools.

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