Abstract

The role of parents as participants in school education is a debatable issue. Attempts to involve parents in the decision-making process are mostly formal. The parents’ opinions are very controversial too.

In December 2014 — March 2015 the authors conducted a questionnaire survey among parents of Izhevsk schools and rural schools of the Udmurt Republic. In Izhevsk parents were interviewed in five schools and were selected by a nested type of sample (n=454). In rural areas a random sampling was used (n=2256).

The survey demonstrates that parents recognize the need for various types of cooperation with educational institutions but are rarely involved in different types of cooperation with teachers and other parents. The degree of involvement of parents in the activities of educational institutions depends on several factors. The first factor is the type of settlement. Parents in rural areas are more involved in the interactions with the teachers and school administration because of the face to face communication. The second factor is the level of parents’ income and education. The higher is the parents’ level of income and education the greater and wider is their participation in school life. The third factor is a relatively closed nature of educational institutions. Only some areas of school activities are considered as available for the parents’ influence. First of all these are extracurricular activities and school clubs. Parents do not see the opportunity to participate in decision making together with teaching and administrative staff of the school. However, they are willing to provide assistance to the school, including financial support, participating in the Board of Trustees. Parents in both urban and rural schools are not willing to take more active part in schools’ activities because of institutional barriers to their participation in decision-making.

Keywords: educational sociology, regional educational policy, parental community.