Parents, Pay Attention! Factors Related to Parental Involvement with Education in Northern Uganda

Document Type


Publication Date



Prior to the colonial period (1896-1962), education of children in Uganda was a family responsibility. The introduction of formal Britishstyled schooling disrupted traditional learning by changing the nature of lessons into formal, Western style classrooms and lectures and by placing educational responsibility into the hands of missionaries, teachers, and the government. Since Uganda gained political independence in 1962, education and parental participation in their children’s education have been further disrupted by numerous civil wars and resulting displacement, poverty, trauma, and government policies. The purpose of this article is to explore the relationship between historical effects and parental responses to education in northern Uganda. The authors used findings in the literature along with results from three research periods between 2007-2015 during which parents, teachers, and community leaders were interviewed in focus groups or individually, to understand ways in which parents were involved in or withdrawn from their children’s education, and reasons for their involvement or inactivity. The authors draw from Epstein and Saunders’ (2006) framework for involvement and Bronfenbrenner’s (1979, 1999) ecological systems theory to frame the research. Our research indicates that a complexity of factors has contributed to reduced parental involvement, including poverty, dislocation, fear, alcohol consumption, and misunderstanding of policy. We conclude with some suggestions for improvement.

Digital Object Identifier (DOI)


Citation / Publisher Attribution

Australasian Review of African Studies, v. 37, issue 2, p. 9-32

Was this content written or created while at USF?