A practical model to enhance Community Involvement in Schools

Darvesh Karim

Whole School Improvement is often defined as improvement for all learners (stakeholders) including students, teachers, non-teaching staff, and parents, which improves all the aspects of the school to enhance students’ learning. WSIP identifies six dimensions of a school for focused input and improvement to enhance students’ learning outcomes. The dimensions are Leadership, Management and Administration; Quality of Teaching and Learning; Curriculum Enrichment and Staff Development; Building, Accommodation and Resources; Social, Moral and Spiritual Development of Students and Health Education; Community Participation.   Wherever an educational project is implemented in schools, AKU-IED/PDCN tries to ensure implementing these six dimensions in schools, which have always proven success and improvement.

While working with different schools and teachers as a teacher-educator, it has been our priority to initiate context relevant activities in schools and provide teacher trainings for a smooth implementation of these activities. In this short writeup a practical model to enhance ‘community participation in schools’ based on field experience is being shared.

Community participation has always been a focus for schools; however, it always varies in different contexts. Some schools are very successful in the process of community involvement, while some need more efforts to succeed. This writeup suggest some activities for school management through which they can increase and ensure community participation which will allow the school to bridge the successful connection between school and the community.

Firstly, it has always been our strong recommendation that to improve the community participation, the first and far most element is the school atmosphere, which should be warm, friendly, and welcoming towards parents and community members. The school leadership and management should inculcate this behavior in students as well as in teaching and non-teaching staff. They should never feel shy, hesitant, confused and questioning towards the parent and community who visit school. The friendly and welcoming atmosphere of the school will surely attract the parents and community towards school. To engage the communities in the affairs of school, the most basic factor which will lay the foundation of school-community relationship is the welcoming behavior of school’s management, staff, and students.

Secondly, a proper SMC – School Management Committee should be formed by taking the consent from the individuals. This voluntary body should be formed not on the paper but with the individual’s consent who are willing to contribute time, their knowledge, and skills for the noble cause of education in their village. Sometimes, just to fulfill the formality schools use to identify names, who don’t visit school and do not take interest in school affairs. If this formation is done purposefully and seriously, then a successful parental involvement will initiate and we may dominantly notice that a member of SMC will always be available in school. School headteacher or teachers do not need to call the SMC for help, but there would be a system already intact. To make this system more powerful, school management may plan a regular parent teacher meeting at school on weekly basis or fortnightly. SMC will always make it sure that the required/called parents must attend the meeting with teachers. During these meetings SMC members also present and they discuss with the parents about the children educational performance, areas of improvement, homework and its quality, health & hygiene condition, timetable for children at home and many more. This regular interaction with community will boost up a sense of ownership with school.

Furthermore, school management with the coordination of SMC and teachers, may establish a timetable for home to be followed by the students.  To make it sure that the given timetable is followed properly at home by the students, SMC members pay surprise visits to different homes. Before doing so, they should always coordinate with the teachers keeping students’ performance in class and their home tasks quality. These surprise visits will give an opportunity to support the families and students for a better performance and to help/identify the struggling students. These visits will also alert parents and students to follow the given home timetable for a common good.

Recognition is a positive re-enforcement to boost educational outcomes. Recognizing students’ performance in education, sports and other co-curricular activities can increase self-confidence and a sense of accomplishment for the individuals who secure high. This encouragement can also aspire other students towards a positive competition. This element could be triggered by SMC with the coordination of school management efficiently. This will increase positive competition among students to increase their grades in the annual examination.

Likewise, every year, schools use to celebrate different local, national, and international events in school and all these celebrations should be included in annual school development plan (SDP). These events can be celebrated with the coordination of SMC and parents. To arrange these celebrations in terms of finance and communication to social/political figures to participate in the event, SMC can be involved. During these events, political/social/religious notables would be the chief guests.

It has been experienced that some schools also initiate the following activities for parents to enhance school-community relationship:

·        Awareness sessions for parents ·        Sessions for SMC on different topics
·        Parents’ Day Celebration ·        Mother support Groups (MSGs)
·        Meetings with mothers ·        Sessions for mothers
·        Involvement of Influential people (Political, Social, Religious) as Guest speakers in Assembly ·        Plan talent shows, award ceremonies, book fairs etc. for parents to attend.
·        Facilitate training of teaching and non-teaching staff to communicate with parents in multi-lingual, cultural differences, and respect in mind. ·        Create flexible volunteering opportunities like different days, times, tasks for parents to participate.


·        Phone calls/text message/WhatsApp Messages or creating a Facebook group for school.


·        Positive behavior as well as negative behaviors shown by the students at school should be communicated to parents through various means of communication

All these initiatives may ensure the community participation positively and a great teamwork among headteacher, teachers, SMC and community will emerge. There must be an open and honest communication between all the stakeholders in terms of their defined roles, and they do not need to intervene to others role. All will be performing their responsibilities according to a set rule and defined responsibilities.  During the weekly/fortnightly meetings they will evaluate their roles and responsibilities hence a system of mutual accountability will be intact and there will be a sense of ownership among all the stakeholders.

Finally, this writeup suggests that individuals and communities can play a vital role in the school improvement process. However, to attract useful and committed individuals for this voluntary body, potential individuals should be contacted and with their consent who are willing to contribute time, their knowledge, and skills should be included in the body. Schools always need guidance, support, and practice to create appropriate environment and welcoming behavior for effective partnerships.

Related Articles

Back to top button