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February 21, 2018 Wednesday 04:00:15 PM IST


Cover Story

Parents have a significant role to play in the making of their children, regardless of gender, through a series of educational and training processes. Here, the term education implies learning and not formal education offered in school, college, or university.


If the term education refers to the formal system, the role of parents is limited to providing the required facilities and support and also the necessary psychological environment for better learning conditions rather than their involvement in teaching various subjects in the formal system. If at all there is an involvement in teaching, it should be confined to the subject matter of learning how to learn and learning how to unlearn besides, of course, academic subjects of their competence.


Ideally, parents shouldn’t act as additional teachers at home. In fact, parents, heavily invested emotionally, will make for

ineffective teachers, only worse than tuition masters and formal teachers.


Interpersonal relations, social involvement, values and ethical standards, and achievement orientation, which are never taught in the formal sense, are the areas of teaching and training that parents and families ought to ideally idea focus on.


If an educated person in the formal system is to be moulded into a national and global citizen, and indeed a better human being,that responsibility vests primary with the parents.


In fact, parents then need to act as authoritative (knowledge authority) and not as an authoritarian figures in leading by  example and validating values and belief systems they expect children to embrace and adhere to. This distinction between

authoritative vs. authoritarian is important and any ambiguity surrounding it creates more problems than solutions.




Parents’ involvement in the formal system of education through the parents-teachers association (PTA) has advantages and disadvantages: advantages in terms of being able to provide ideational and infrastructural support, and disadvantages,

when the PTA begins to act as an authority centre dictating terms to the school authorities and teachers.


If PTA acts as a democratic agent for the welfare and advancement of the educational process of the students, then it should be a welcome initiative. It goes against the spirit of it all when it acts as a political agent or instrument seeking a role that

may not entirely be legitimately desirable.


‘Education’ is a template for the future and as such parents, teachers, and institutions, not to mention students themselves, need to have some essential understanding about what lies ahead. We are definite about the past, but uncertain about the future. Our educational system is past oriented and not future oriented and it is likely to remain the same till ‘futurology’ become a science.


Learning how to learn and learning how to unlearn become the more significant educational processes in this context. Parents need to pay more attention in this direction rather than acting as additional teachers at home.

Prof. P. R. Poduval

Prof. Poduval is former Director, School of Management Studies, CUSAT
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