Emerging Trends: Parental Education
In this article, we focus on the Romanian parental education strategy. The topic was approached through an online survey conducted on the questia.ro platform. The research study was active between September 12th and September 13th and covered 999 respondents, with a +/- 3% margin of error when reported to the Romanian online population.
Education accompanies us through our lives and its purpose is to facilitate a specific modification of behaviour. Education is first received from parents as they are our first teachers. Along with parents, school has an important role in forming the developing behaviour of a child. In this context, educating the parents according to current times principles and expectations became a necessity.
The concept of parental education covers training for parents regarding how to be the primary teacher for their children and full partners in the education of their children and is one of the four components of family literacy:
- PACT Time, which implies interactive activities between parents and their children
- Parent Education
- Adult Education, which implies parent training that leads to economic self-sufficiency
- Children’s Education, which implies an age-appropriate education to prepare children for success in school and life experiences
The main purpose of the family literacy is to integrate the four components from above into creating a seamless approach to education.
The main advantages of parent education are to discover their own strengths, to enhance their parenting skills and life competencies and to learn about their children’s cognitive, literacy and developmental growth. Parents are the children’s primary caregivers, thus it is important that they improve their skills in being the primary teacher for their children. Moreover, according to Child Trends, higher level of parent educational attainment is strongly associated with positive outcomes for children in many areas, including school readiness, educational achievement and pro-social activities. Also, children of more educated parents are likely to have access to greater human, material and social resources.
According to the Parental Education and Parental Time with Children paper, “Parents invest both their material resources and their time into raising their children. Time investment in children is thought to be critical to the development of "quality" children who will become productive adults.” The main conclusion depicted from the study is that parents with higher levels of education and income spend more time on child care, mainly because higher-educated parents demand more cared-for children or because higher-educated parents are more effective at enriching their children through face to face interaction. The fact that the children of higher-educated parents enjoy more time being cared for directly by their parents may have important effects on their development, both economic and otherwise.
The Romanian Ministry of Education has launched in the June 11th 2018 public debate, the project called National Parental Education Strategy for the period of 2018 to 2025. Parental education provides support for parents in the education of children, raising children and improving parenting skills. The strategy has as objective to change and improve the attitudes and visions of Romanian parents following the recommendations of modern psycho-pedagogy.
The Romanian Ministry of Education proposes the induction of parental education in the job description of teachers, social and medical assistants and psychologists and will consist of 2 hours per week allocated to parenting.
Council of Europe encourages ”positive parenting” which implies a ”parental behaviour based on the pursuit of the best interests of the child, which is stimulating, empowered and nonviolent and provides recognition and guidance that implies setting limits to allow for the full development of child”. The purpose of all adopted measures should be the harmonious development and the suitable treatment of children by respecting their fundamental rights and dignity.
The Romanian Ministry of Education presents how parental education is being developed and approached in other European countries:
- In Spain, schools and non-governmental organizations provide parental education with resources from the state or private donors. Public or private service providers also offer parental education services to certain categories of people such as immigrant parents, parents receiving social services, personal assistants etc.
- In Italy, the emphasis has been placed on parental education from a medical-social perspective ever since 1997. In both countries (Spain and Italy), the academic environment is involved in producing materials for such programs.
- In France has been established an Interministerial Family Office since 1999, ensuring the coordination and monitoring of parental support services.
- In Portugal, participation at parental education courses is mandatory for those parents who benefit from the minimum guaranteed income or for those who justice deems is necessary.
- Sweden has a national parental support strategy since 1999. Parental services are intended for parents whose children are in special need. The responsibility for organizing these parental support services lies with regional and local authorities.
At the beginning of June 2018, The Romanian Education Ministry proposed a strategy for parental education. However, most respondents (72.4%) have not heard about this strategy so far.
It seems that the balance inclines into agreeing with the proposed strategy (38.3%), however more than one-quarter of respondents (28.9%) agree to a certain extent with the strategy and believe that the strategy needs to be reviewed.
When asked about what are the reasons for which they do not agree with the parental education strategy, the most common answers were the high required budget and the fact that the family is presented in a way respondents do not agree with.
We then asked those respondents who agreed with the parental education strategy what is the reason for this. Over half of the respondents (52.3%) agree with the strategy because the accent is placed on respecting the human rights, sexual rights included. Many others think that the traditional values are changed with the freedom of choice (41.4%), while 39.6% believe that the emphasis is placed on respecting diversity.
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