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Afolabi, O. E., Mukhopadhyay, S. & Nenty, H. J. (2015). Linking Parents ‘Role Belief for Involvement with Success of Inclusive education: Do Gender, Marital status and Education matters? Hungarian Educational Research Journal, 5(3), 36-55, DOI :10.14413/herj.2015.03.04.
Linking Parents ‘Role Belief for Involvement with Success of Inclusive education: Do Gender, Marital status and Education matters?
Olusegun E. Afolabi, Sourav Mukhopadhyay, & H. Johnson Nenty
Abstract
Parent involvement is acknowledged worldwide as relevant to children’s education and also well-thought-outas a key component of educating learners with SENs. While generally accepted as influencing education of learners with SENs, it is imperative to state that more evidence is still needed on the degree of beliefs that parents of learners with special needs had about involving in their children’s learning, and why this is vary from one parent to the other. This study examined the views of parents of learners with SENs about their role-beliefs for involvement in education of their childrenand see whether there were any differences with regard to their gender, marital status and educational status. The study used the Developmental Ecological Perspectives and Hoover-Dempsey and Sandler model (1995) as theoretical framework to investigate parental beliefs for involvement in inclusive education. The investigation is based on this question: To what extent do parents’ level of education, marital status, and gender influenced their role beliefs for involvement in inclusive education in Nigeria. Employing a quantitative method research design, this study gathered data from 372 parents of learners with SENs in 10 regular primary schools in the city of Ibadan, Oyo State, Nigeria. The study used a survey instrument on Parental Involvement in Inclusive Education (PII) scale for data collection.The findings indicated a significant relationship between parental role beliefs for involvement and variables such as marital status, education and gender in inclusive education in Nigeria.Finally the study recommended that school must strive to promotepositive school climate that support inclusive learning and ascribed to parents, responsibilities that will make them a partners in their child education.
 
Introduction
There is mounting evidence that parental involvement is a major strategy for successful inclusive education and is critical for educating learners with Special Educational Needs (SENs). Most evidence on parental involvement is from the children and teacher’s perspectives, therefore, leaving a big gap in parent’s involvement literature. Although these available researches indicated the benefits of parental involvement in inclusive education, they significantly failed to highlights the factors that motivate parents of learners with special needs to get involved in their child’s learning.
Global research shows that the idea of integrating learners with SENs in regular classrooms came from their parents (Ferguson, 2008), According to literature, parents of learners with SENs believed that through mainstream education, their children will have equal rights and opportunity to quality education, and engaged with their peers in an enriching and supportive environment that promote learning and development (Ferguson, 2008; Pijl, 1997; Pijl, Nakken, & Mand, 2003). This assumptions led to the general believes that, physical integration, coupled with equal rights would not only develop socio-cognitive of children with SENs, but also increased their active participation and engagement with peers (Scheepstra, Nakken, & Pijl, 1999). This according to Palmer, Fuller, Arora, and Nelson (2001) is fundamental to successful inclusive education.
Several factors contributed to decision of parents of learners with SENs to engage in their children’s learning (e.g. Cooper & Christie, 2005; Drummond & Stipek, 2004; Hill, Tyson & Bromell, 2009; Olivos, 2006), therefore, having a better understanding of them is crucial for successful inclusive education. Thus, to promote parental involvement in inclusive education, the emerging evidence over the years (Barnard, 2004, Bronfrenbrenner, 1979; Cohen & Sekino 2004, De Civita, Pagani, Vitaro & Tremblay 2004; Epstein, 2009; Fan & Chen 2001;Henderson & Mapp, 2002, 2007; Ice & Hoover-Dempsey 2011; Jeynes, 2003; Larocque, et al., 2011; McWayne, et al. 2004), all suggested an active participation of parents of learners with SENs in education of their children.
As mentioned earlier, of most importance to education of learners with SENs is the involvement of parents in their schooling. This process is seriously lacking to say the least, and new in the developing countries like Nigeria where the concept of parental involvement is getting to be acknowledged. The failure of Government to fully mobilize the parents of learners with special needs in education of their children contributed to the failure of the programme and by extension, sustained variables such as: achievement gap, inequality and discrimination among learners with SENs in Nigeria (Ajuwon, 2008, 2012).
Parental involvement in inclusive education
A number of wide-ranging researches has lend support to the assertion that parents are major stakeholders in education of their children, and understanding their beliefs, perception, attitude and orientation about involvement with school will go a long way to develop children’s learning(Anderson, 2006; Bower & Griffin, 2011; Copeland et al., 2004). Though, generally considered as a key component of educating learners with SENs, more evidence is needed on why parents of learners with SENs are varied in their school involvement. As the first and most enduring educators of children, parents of learners with SENs have better knowledge of their children’s learning needs than any other person in the system. That is why it was posited by Desforges and Abouchaar (2003) and Harris and Chrispeels (2006) that parents have a significant positive effect on their children's wellbeing and achievement after all other variables have been eliminated. This was also supported by Sylva, Melhuish, Sammons, Siraj-Blatchford, and Taggart (2004) when they suggested that involving parents in education at an early phase leads to further constructive engagement in educational processes. Further, developmental psychology studies (Fan & Chen, 2001; Gonzalez-Hass, Willems & Holbein, 2005; Hoover-Dempsey et al. 2005; Overstreet et al. 2004; Spera, 2005) also found parents’ learning attitudes and conducts as significantly related to their children’s education.
In addition, the review of literature both local and international all acknowledged parental involvement as significant to education of learners with SENs. This is due in part to 1) changes to national legislation, i.e., the reauthorizations of the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act of 1997 and 2004 (IDEA 97 and IDEIA 2004) that legally mandates that learners with SENs be given educational services in a least restrictive environment (LRE) and the Education for Persons with Special Educational Needs Act 2004 and the Disability Act 2005 which enforces both principals and teachers in mainstream education to not only accommodates learners with special needs in school (Meaney et al. 2005, p. 216) but also make sure that their needs are met (Griffin and Shevlin, 2011, p. 61), 2) the international developments and declaration, i.e., adoption of the universal declaration of Human Rights and the League of Nations at the end of the Second World War in 1945 which suggested the idea of inclusive education for learners with SENs and canvass for parent’s participation in education of learners with SENs, and 3) the court’s ruling i.e., litigations from families of learners with SENs against the state, such as the cases of O’Donoghue (1993) and Sinnott (2000). All these played a significant role in shaping the educational provision for learners with SENs (Griffin and Shevlin, 2011).
As a result of these developments, education of learners with SENs got the attention it deserves in Sub-Sahara Africa and Nigeria in particular. The adoption of the universal declaration of Human Rights and the League of Nations at the end of the Second World War in 1945 spearheads the implementation of inclusive education in Sub Sahara Africa. For example, Article 26 of the Declaration proclaims the right of every person to an education regardless of their gender, race, colour and religion. This right is widely acknowledged and enshrined in the constitutions of every independent nation across the world as an important document that promotes children’s rights. Based on this, most children and adults with special needs were encouraged to benefit from formal education and those who had the opportunity to go to higher did so without any hindrance.
Internationally, the involvement of parents of learners with SENs in their children’s education is becoming a phenomenon that is viewed not only as a compliment to schooling or work of teachers, but as a critical and vital support for children’s educational, psychological, and emotional progress in life. Precisely, within the research work on parental involvement in education, there is mounting evidence supporting the potential of engaging parents to increase the educational accomplishment of all learners, thus, make it an essential part of school reform initiatives (Education Trust, 2003;Henderson & Mapp, 2002). This mandates as found in most Government policies, such as (e.g. No Child Left Behind Act; Every Childs’ Matter Act; Universal Basic Education Act; Education White Paper 6 , Department of Education, 2001) focuses on increasing parental involvement practice in education.
In Europe, for example, the European Commission holds the belief that the degree of parental participation is a significant indicator of school quality. This notion was supported by researchers, such as Levy, Kim and Olive, (2006), and Pérez, Carreón, Drake and Barton, (2005) to mention a few, where they reported family involvement as a major contributing factor that promote educational achievement among children in-respectful of their unique characteristics or differences in educational needs. For example, in the United Kingdom, the strategy for safeguarding parental involvement was first set up by the Government in the 1997 White Paper, ‘Excellence in Schools’. The White paper proposed that for effective parental involvement in education, parents must be offered the following: (a) information, (b) a voice and (c) partnerships with schools.
The review of literature from the United States showed that the Government through the educational department gave special attention to parent’s involvement in education of their children particularly, in inclusive education both at the state and federal levels. This is well articulated in the educational policies and programs of the Government on inclusive education in the country. The Education for All Handicapped Children Act of 1975 was linked to years of agitation by parents of learners with SENs through their untiring agitation and litigation. Further, the high increase in adoption of educational programmes that are beneficial to learners with SENs was also related to the roles played by their parents (Duhaney & Spencer, 2000; Soodak, 2004).
In Sub Sahara Africa, the issue of parent’s involvement is not different from what is happening in the other parts of the world. Research on parents ‘involvement in Africa found parents as an untapped resource in their children's education. Although parents raised their children, choose whether to send them to school or not, decide what kind of schools they should attend, and in many cases fund their education, this actions is not giving the recognitions it deserved by Government and it influenced the kind of learning given to learners with SENs in Sub Sahara Africa (Mncube, 2008; Mukhopadhyay, 2009;Oyetunde, 1999; Winnick, 2000; UNESCO Salamanca Report, 1994; Nziramasanga Report, 1999).
Parents Role Beliefs and Inclusive education
As research on parents’ role belief for involvement continue to generate intense debates, its relevance and applicability to education of learners with SENs is still questioned. Engaging parents of learners with SENs in their children’s school activities is significant to their children’s education, as parents‘ beliefs pervaded their perception of involvement. These were inferred from the following processes: their discussion and statement about their involvement activities, how they got involved in those activities and the reasons that prompted their involvement. As was noted most parents get involved in their children's education due to the problem their children encountered in school and this invariably influenced their level of commitment to their children’s learning. Thus, involvement is a means of solving a problem and not an end in itself.
Also, parents’ beliefs about involvement in education of their children are influenced by their perceptions of other challenges of life or family engagement that demand their attention and time. For example, work related issues or other family responsibilities might take away parents’ interest or restrict them from fully participated in their children’s education (Hoover-Dempsey et al., 2005). Parents with employment that requires them to always be punctual at work find involvement in education of their children less interesting compared to parents with a flexible employment (Garcia Coll et al., 2002; Weiss et al., 2003).
The strong beliefs that parents of learners with SENs had about their ability to understand and manage their children's needs also influenced their involvement activities in their children’s education. As highlighted in parental involvement literatures, parents believed they understand their children better than anyone else and that they are in a better situation to appreciate their children’s social and learning needs. This conviction prompted their desire to work and collaborate with school in assessing, understanding and providing basic needs for their children learning. It also raised major concern about the lack of formal mechanism that teachers can explored to assess basic information about their children’s schooling such as learning styles, interests, and talents. As one parent of a special needs child noted:
It is advisable that for proper implementation of inclusive education, special education teachers should work together with parents of their students in order to have first class information about history, strengths and weaknesses of their students. Therefore, information from parents, if shared with the teachers will go a long way in promoting inclusion and also making inclusive education a reality. Nevertheless, parents perceived the value of their efforts as an ongoing collaboration between themselves and school as representing their child: The more we put into our school, the more the children get out of it. The better off we make it for the teachers, the happier they are. And the more they enjoy working with our children. And you want the teacher to feel appreciated because if it's a good teacher you want them to stay.
Further, Holloway et al, (2008) identified parental ‘role beliefs as a major predictor of parents willingness to engage in supportive parenting. Parental observational roles beliefs were also supported by research and theory in developmental psychology. For example, the beliefs that parent had for participating in their children’s education is formed not only by relevant social environment (i.e., family, school and culture) but also influenced by their beliefs and orientation about parenting (Hoover-Dempsey et al., 2005). Khol and McMahon (2000), established that parents ‘role beliefs for involvement in their children’s education and their degree of communication with school are in part a reflection of their own educational experiences, as limited personal education influenced parents ‘vision as well as confidence in supporting their children education.
Despite the sizable amount of research relating parents’ beliefs for involvement with education of learners with SENs (Forlin, Earle, Loreman, & Sharma, 2011, p. 51), we do not have a clear knowledge of why patterns of parent beliefs for involvement in inclusive education differed. Though, research on parents ‘beliefs for involvement in education of learners with SENs are limited, the few available work reported mixed findings and not clearly understood. For example, Li, (2002) and Sansosti, (2008) proposed that parents of learners with SENs have mixed beliefs about the degree to which inclusive education constructively influenced their children’s social and academic development. While some studies reported that parents of learners with SENs hold positive beliefs about involvement in education of their children (Rafferty, Boettcher, & Griffin, 2001; Rafferty &Griffin, 2005), others reported contrary views about their level of involvement.
For example, a study conducted by Leyser and Kirk (2004) found more than 85% of the 437 parents of learners with SENs reported robust beliefs in their participation in their children education. Similarly, Garrick-Duhaney and Salend (2000) conducted a study using 11 empirical works to examine the beliefs of parents of learners with SENs about their participation in inclusive education and found that “majority of parents of parents of learners with SENs supported inclusive education for their children” (p. 125).
Lastly, parents of learners with SENs get involved in their children’s education, due to their perceptions of their children’s schooling. The degree at which parents believed in their engagement or disengagement from school influenced their children school performance (Ferrara, 2009; Gibson & Jefferson, 2006; Mapp, Johnson, Strickland& Meza, 2008). This action is linked to positive school’s outcomes among learners with SENs., as learners gained substantially from the shared efforts of both parents and schools. In view of this, a multidimensional typology of parental involvement that includes a wide range of parent behaviors, is needed in order to understand their role beliefs for involvement, both in school and outside (Hoover-Dempsey et al., 2005). To use parent beliefs for involvement as an instrument for improving school prospects and outcomes, it is imperative for professionals to investigate how their involvement effect varies. This current study addressed this information gap, and examined whether parent’s belief for involvement in their children’s education is influenced by sociocultural and economic characteristics.
An Ecological Model of Parents ‘involvement
In line with ecological theories (e.g., Bronfenbrenner, 1979), education of learners with SENs children’s are swayed by a hierarchy of several contexts or layers of factors. Seginer (2006) suggested that research should use ecological theory to analyse parent-school partnership and that parental involvement study should move beyond the direct, bivariate relationships between parenting and youngsters’ learning outcomes and embraced the mediators, moderators, and precursors of the parental involvement–achievement relationship. He proposed further that parental involvement in education can be better appreciated when we investigated the interactions among variables in the system (i.e., micro-, meso-, macro-, and exosystems) using advanced multivariate statistical approaches Thus, for successful inclusive education, the contextual processes must be integrated; and the interrelationship among the systems must be critically accessed and evaluated. Further, the analyses of the multiple layers of influence must take into consideration the direct impact of the immediate family environment on a child‘s learning, as this interactions in the micro systems served as a tool that connected and integrated a child with the outside world (see Figure 1).
Interacted systems model based on developmental ecological system theory
Figure1. Development Ecological System Model
Objectives of Present Study
Although there is substantial evidence documenting the relationships between parental involvement and education of learners with SENs, there have been few efforts to incorporate multiple levels of inquiry that link parents ‘role belief for involvement with inclusive education. Underpinning much of the recent philosophy on parental involvement research is the ecological systems model, proposed by Bronfenbrenner (1979; 1992) which sees the interactions within the children environment as influenced their development. Bronfenbrenner, (1989) suggested that activities that happening within a particular environment have emotional impact on learners' conduct and development. He also suggested that a child is the middle of five ecological systems, and is learning experience is swayed by experiences related to each of the five. Within these layers, the individual within each level, most importantly the family must actively partake in and influenced the interactions. He recognised these particular sceneries as microsystems which represent the most important of the system. The microsystems in any individual settings i.e., the home or the school, is where a child has most of her constant interactions as individuals in these microsystems have the most direct influence on a child learning and development. If these interactions break down, it will have a significant implication on a child’s interaction with other segment in his environment (Paquette & Ryan, 2001). Based on this aforementioned, this paper proposed a conceptual model to examine how families’ characteristic influenced parents ‘role beliefs for involvement in inclusive education in Nigeria using Hoover-Dempsey and Sandler’s parental involvement model.
Hoover-Dempsey and Sandler’s Parental Involvement Model
Because bio-ecological theory does not fully address the issues of parent’s involvement in inclusive education, this study used Hoover-Dempsey and Sandler; model to explain parental role beliefs for involvement in education of learners with SENs. Hoover-Dempsey and Sandler model proposed a different theoretical conceptualization about parental involvement. Their theoretical framework on parental involvement is seemingly comprehensive, detailed, and opened another channel towards understanding parental involvement in inclusive education. Their work emphases three key problems: (1) why parents decide to participate in their child’s learning; (2) in what way do parents select particular forms of participation; and (3) why their engagement has a constructive impact on learning outcomes. Hoover-Dempsey and Sandler model looked at Parents’ involvement from parents ‘perspectives and analysed how these variables lead to a desired positive outcome in inclusive education. The model described five levels of involvement that link parents’ initial decisions to become involved in their children’s education with student outcomes. The first two levels (see Figure 2) emphases on parents’ decision-making processes, while the upper tiers of the model (Levels 3–5) summarized different ways that PI may positively affects student achievement. This study focused more on the first two layers of the model; which explained the differences between the original and revised models.
Conceptual Framework
Because of the multifaceted and multidimensional nature of parental involvement, a conceptual framework was proposed for this study as a step toward understanding parent’s beliefs about involvement in education of their children. To achieve this, I tested the hypothesis that examined whether parents ‘social cultural and economic variables as indexed in this study as (marital status, education and gender) significantly influenced parents’ role beliefs for involvement in inclusive education in Nigeria. This conceptual framework was founded on the notion that parent’s belief for involvement in their children’s education is influenced by demographic variables (i.e., age, gender and education) than by purely ascriptive processes.
In this study, I conceptualized parent involvement as a set of group-defining behaviour, deeds, beliefs, and attitudes that function as an operative factor in defining categorical differences among parents of learners with special needs asthis provided a viewpoint for examined variables that sustained parental involvement in inclusive education. The framework analyses parents’ involvement from both micro and meso level interactions, as the interplay: (micro and meso), promotes positive school climate, and eventually lead to positive learning outcome in inclusive education for learners with SENs. The review of literature on PI supported this assertion, and suggested parental involvement as important for successful inclusive education (IE). As a parent- focused/ strength-based, the model demonstrated that parents of learners with SENs are ultimately accountable for their children’s learning outcomes. These were tackled from the psychosocial variable, (independent variables) namely; socioeconomic status (SES), marital status, family structure, gender, parents’ level of education, parents' belief, parents’ self-efficacy, parents ‘expectation, parenting skills and knowledge. These variables are home factors that are hypothetically associated with parental involvement. Further, they are seen as a causal factor for parents’ participation in inclusive education (dependent variable).
Figure 2. Conceptual Framework
The model indicated that parental variables, i.e., parents’ beliefs, education, gender, marital status, socioeconomic variable mediated their involvement with school and promote successful inclusive education. For example, a parent, who believed they can help their children with school work, developed a positive attitude towards school; this action supports home-school partnership and promotes successful inclusive education. Also, parent’s socioeconomic status coupled with their level of education influences parents’ beliefs about their ability to engage and relate with school. In addition, a successful inclusive education depends on home-school collaboration, which can be sustained in a positive school climate where parents are seen as collaborators or partners in their children’s education. The overall belief that all parent’s matter really supported and encouraged parents’ participation in inclusive education.
Method
Participants
The population of study is the total number of parents of learners with SENs, attending mainstream primary schools in Ibadan, Oyo State. Unfortunately, due to lack of statistics on learners with SENs in Nigeria, WHOs 10% criteria were used (UNAIDS/WHO, 2003) to select the sample population. Using these criteria, the targeted population of this study comprised of 10040 parents of learners with SENs. To determine the sample size, a sample size calculator was used (Survey systems, n.d) and 372 sample sizes were obtained. The researcher selected one school from each 10 Local Government Councils in Ibadan and its surrounding areas randomly. The principal/head teachers of these schools were contacted and requested to liaise with the Primary 5 and 6 teachers in their respective schools to help in identifying parents of learners with SENs. Thereafter, 38 parents of learners with SENs from each school was selected with the help of primary 5 and 6 teachers in each school using snowball sampling (Atkinson & Flint, 2001).
Procedure
Attitudinal surveys were used to capture parental views, and beliefs about involvement in inclusive education, along with their demography information. Parents of learners with special needs in 10 selected regular/ primary school in Ibadan and its surrounding areas were purposively selected and administered questionnaires in order to identify their experiences and beliefs about involvement in inclusive education. This survey uses quantitative response formats (i.e. agree or disagree). The survey packets were given to parents’ of learners with SENs by their children’s teachers during parent meetings and parent-teacher conferences. The survey packets contained a cover letter, the survey questionnaires, business reply envelope. The parent survey packet also contained a brief explanation of what inclusion means, what the study is about, and the steps parents need to take in order to participate in the study. After 3 weeks, follow-up phone calls were made to the schools to remind them to send out parent survey packets.
Measures
The study used Attitude Survey instrument to measure the perception, and beliefs of parents of learners with SENs about involvement in inclusive education. This instrument was adapted based on extensive review of the current literature on inclusion and parent involvement (Hoover-Dempsey & Jones, 1992; Hoover-Dempsey & Sandler, 1997). The attitude survey consists of two sections; the first section consists of background information on the respondent's gender, their child's age, grade, gender types, about disability, and exposure to inclusion and non-inclusion classroom settings.
The second section contains parental role beliefs for involvement in inclusive education (PII) subscale and this was derived from research by Hoover-Dempsey et al., (1995). The scale consisted of 18 items and measured the degree to which parents believe it is their responsibility to help the school to educate their children. The items use a six-point Likert scale. Parents indicated whether they "strongly agree," "agree," "neither agree, neither disagree," "disagree," or "strongly disagree" with statements such as: "help their child understand his or her homework," "keep track of their child's progress in school," and "contact the teacher before academic problems arise, achieved satisfactory reliability with the home-schooling sample (alpha = .86).
Results
This study investigated the relationship between parents ‘role-belief for involvement and inclusive education in Nigeria and test whether age; gender and education have any significant impact on this relationship. Descriptive statistics (means, standard deviation, ranges) for the variables in this study are shown in Tables 1. Three hundred and forty seven questionnaires were sent out, of which only 320 (91%) were returned. The descriptive analysis showed that 259 (80.9%) respondent were married, while 61 (19.1%) were single. This indicated that a larger proportion of respondents (80.9%) were married compared to 61 (19.1%) who were single. Similarly, the data also pointed out that a large proportion of parents accomplished university education (n = 247, 77.2%) compared to only 73, (22.8%) who reported to have had secondary school education.
Table 1: Marital status, educational and gender characteristic of parents’ participant
Characteristics
Frequency
Percentage
Marital Status
Married
259
80,9
Single
61
19,1
Total
320
100
Educational Level
Secondary education
73
22,8
University education
247
77,2
Total
320
100
Gender
Male
66
20,6
Female
254
79,4
Total
320
100
With regards to gender, 79.4% (n= 254) of the respondents were female with only 20.6% (66) male.
Marital status and Parental role beliefs
To test my hypothesis of significant differences between parents ‘marital status and parental ‘role-belief for involvement in inclusive education, the t-test was run(see Table 2).The mean and standard deviations of married parents on role beliefs for involvement subscale were (M= 86.0, SD = 7.67) while that of single parents were (M = 84.68, SD = 1.05). The results showed that at a critical value of .05 (t = 1.246, p<.05), significant differences was established between married and single parents on role beliefs for involvement in inclusive education. Analysis of the means for these variables indicated that, on average, married parents of learners with SENs reported more positive beliefs for involvement in inclusive education (M = 86.0), than single parents of learners with SENs (M = 84.68). Therefore the null hypothesis is rejected. The direction of the relationship showed that both parents are differing in their role beliefs for involvement in inclusive education in Nigeria.
Table 2: Mean Standard Deviations and t-value on parents’ marital status, and parental role belief.
 
Marital status
N
Mean
Std. Deviation
df
t
P
Parental Role Beliefs
Married
259
86,07
7,67
318
1,25
0,01
Single
61
84,68
8,17
                 
This could be ascribed to the fact that single parents showed less commitment and less activeness in both school and home activities in inclusive education than married parents.
Educational status and Parental role beliefs
Parents’ educational status was tested to detect whether or not they have any significant influence on parental ‘role-belief for involvement in inclusive education. Comparisons were made between the mean score of both groups of parents to determine if they are significantly differed (see Table 3) using the t-test. It was found that at a critical value of .05 (t = -12.35, p < .05), there was a significant difference between parents of learners with SENs with higher education(university education) and those with lower education (secondary education) on role beliefs for involvement in inclusive education in Nigeria. The results indicated a difference in the mean scores between the two groups of parents on involvementand supportedmy hypothesis that parent’s educational status significantly influenced their ’beliefs for involvement in inclusive education. Thus, the null hypothesis is rejected.
Table 3: Mean Standard Deviations and t-value on parents’ educational status, and parental role belief.
 
Educational status
N
Mean
Std. Deviation
df
t
P
Parental Role Beliefs
Secondary Education
73
77,67
6,67
318
-12,35
0,01
University Education
247
88,2
6,31
                 
This could be attributed to the fact that parents with higher educational qualification (university education) showed stronger perception, and hadpositive role beliefs about what, when and how they should be actively involved in their children’s education than parents with lower education (secondary school).
Gender and parental role belief
Parent’s gender wastested to detect whether they have any significant influence on parental ‘role-belief for involvement in inclusive education. Comparisons were made, and the mean and standard deviation scores for both groups on role beliefs subscale were obtained(see Table 4).To find out if there was a difference in the mean score of the two groups of parents, the t-test was run. The findings showed that at a critical value of .05, there was a significant difference between female parents of learners with SENs and male parents (t = -2.65, p < .05) on role beliefs for involvement in inclusive education. Thus, the null hypothesis is rejected. Thedifference in the mean scores between the two groups of parents (female and male)showed that they are differing in role beliefs for involvement in inclusive education.
Table 4. Mean, Standard Deviations and t-value on parents ‘gender and parental role belief.
 
Gender status
N
Mean
Std. Deviation
df
t
P
Parental Role Beliefs
Male
66
83,56
8,9
318
-2,65
0,01
Female
254
86,38
7,36
                 
This results could be attributed to the fact that female group indeed recorded strong standing on variables theoretically linked to parent’s participation in education of their children, than the male parents.
Discussion, Implication and Conclusion
Parent’s role beliefs for involvement are very critical to the success or failure of inclusive education. This study demonstrated this by established that positive parental role beliefs increased parents’ participation in education of their children. Parental beliefs about involvement in inclusive education influenced their decision to get involved in their children’s education and this invariably had a positive effect on their children’s learning. By implication,this study showed that parents of learners with SENs perceived their role beliefs for involvement, in part, as a consequence of their experiences, as prior perceptions of parents’ beliefs for involvement in the education of their children contributed to schooling of learners with SENs.
As I had hypothesized, significant relationships were found between parental beliefs for involvement and variables such as education, marital status and gender. Thisfinding was offeredin this study alongside the basis and causation linked to each finding.As the past research on parental involvement focused mainly on teacher’s views, with relativelyless attention paid to parents ‘viewson involvement and the role that variables such as age, education, socio-economic, culture and marital status played, this study aligned with other study(DCSF, 2007, Drummond & Stipek 2004, Taylor et al., 2004)to establish a significant relationship between parental role belief for involvement in inclusive education in Nigeria and parents’ characteristic such as marital status, educational status and gender. It was also established that parents’ perceptions of their beliefs for involvement influenced their decision to participate in education of their children.
My hypothesis that parents’ variables such as age, gender and education significantly influenced their ‘beliefs for involvement in inclusive education was also supported in this study. While the exact nature of how these variables influenced parent ‘beliefs for involvement differed, the relationships between them was clearly established. This was evident in the reports from parental survey and was strongly supported by the research question generated in this study. This study also consistent with the prior studies linking the parental role beliefs for involvement with the success of inclusive education (DCSF, 2007, Drummond & Stipek 2004, Taylor et al., 2004) and complimented earlier work on parental beliefs in the education of their children (Hoover-Dempsey & Sandler, 1995; Hoover-Dempsey et al., 2005). ). This shows that the beliefs that parents of learners with SENs had about involvement in their children’s education motivated their decision to fully engage in learning of their children.
In addition, the literature reviewed in this study linked parental beliefs for involvement in their children’s education to their contextual environment. Also, empirical works on parental involvement (PI) in inclusive education learning (Coleman, 1988; Barn, et.al. 2006; Drummond & Stipek 2004; Hoover-Dempsey & Sandler, 2005; Lareau, 2001; Lee & Bowen, 2006; Walker, et, al., 2005) emphasised the significance of social and cultural capital on parents’ participation in children learning. This was supported in this study as parents ‘socioeconomic and cultural backgrounds indexed in this study as(education, marital status and gender) significantly influenced their participation in inclusive education. The beliefs of parents of learners with SENs are influenced by the experiences they shared with persons and groups associated with their children learning, and subjected to social influence over time. For example, in Nigeria, the socioeconomic and cultural factors played significant role in the way parents of learners with SENs participated in their children’s education (Ajuwon, 2008). Majority of the parents of learners with SENs in Nigeria believed that educating children with SENs is a waste of time. Besides, society also viewed the idea of investing in learners with SENs as economic waste.
The relevance of this to parental involvement in inclusive education was highlighted and mentioned in empirical literatures as follows: (1) parents’ beliefs for involvement in education of their children was mounting on socio-economic status (Zhan, 2006); (2) parents’ beliefs for involvement in school activities decreased as the child grows older Gutman, & Akerman, 2008; (3) parents’ beliefs for involvement is based on children’s gender i.e., boy or girl, (4) parents’ beliefs for involvement is influenced by marital status (married or single) (Peters, et al. 2008); and lastly, parents beliefs for involvement is influenced by education status ( higher or lower) (De Civita, Pagani; Vitaro, & Tremblay, 2004; Hill, et al. 2004).
Lastly, this study tallied with other studies (e.g., Grolnick, Kurowski, Dunlap, & Hevey, 2000; Hoover-Dempsey et al., 2005;Ling-Feng & Yu-Hong, 2004; Miedel & Reynolds, 1999; Van den Bergh, 2006; Zentner & Renaud, 2007) to linked parental involvement in education of their children to psychological attributes that supported parental participation in children’s learning across group, i.e., learners with SENs or those who are at risk of poorer education in school. The above findings reinforced the frequent agitation for better understanding of the contextual and psychological influence on parental involvement in inclusive education. Looking at all these trends, we can concluded by states that parents role beliefs influenced and shaped the views of parental parents of learners with SENs about involvement in education of their children (e.g., Drummond & Stipek, 2004; Hoover-Dempsey, et al., 2005). This was supported in this study as socioeconomic and cultural factors mediated parent’s role beliefs for involvement in education of their children.
Implication
This study has wide-ranging implications for parental involvement in inclusive education in Nigeria. Specifically, it examined the significant influence of demographic variables (marital status, education and gender) on parents’ role beliefs for involvement in education of learners with SENsand contributed to scholarly literature and research on parental involvement in inclusive education. Because of the complexity and the multidimensional feature of parental involvement concept, this study developed a conceptual model on parental involvement in inclusive education. This model viewed parents of learners with SENs and their children as developing persons, and parental characteristics such as marital status, gender and educational status were measured as mediating factors that influenced their beliefs for involvement in inclusive education. This study contributed to theory on parental involvement in this regards andestablished interactions of parental variables at different layers as influenced parent’s decision to get involved in their children education (Bronfrebrenner & Morris, 2006).
Even though this study has many thought-provoking findings thatcontributed to literature, there are features that limit thegeneralizability of these findings. One of the strongest limitations is that the study was carried out in Ibadan, Oyo State, Nigeria; therefore limited results were found related to parental involvement in inclusive education. A second limitation of this study is related to the methodology. The study focused more on micro- meso factors and the immediate learning environment and left out some of the key participants such as the teachers and children. Thus it would be valuable for future studies to extend the study to other part of country, i.e., north and east for broader analysis and generalization of the study in the country. It would also be valuable for future studies to investigate teachers and children beliefs about parents involvement in inclusive education by focusing on the reciprocal interactions between parents-child, parents-teachers and teachers-child in the social and cultural environment on parental involvement in inclusive education.
Recommendation
Based on the background, the review of literature and the findings of this study, there was a dearth of parental involvement in inclusive education in Nigeria, particularly in the decision making process. This evidence clearly showed that parents’ involvement in the education of learners with SENs is facing formidable challenges both in policy and practice in Nigeria, as it was found that parents of learners with SENs are not fully encouraged to participate in their children’s learning. The reason was that strategies that encouraged parent’s participation in school activities were not fully embraced by the Nigeria educational authority. Besides, majority of the parents of learners with SENs did not see their participation in school activities as fundamentally important to their children’s learning due in part to their socioeconomic and cultural background and negative school climate.. If the axiom charity begins at home still holds sways, then the task of developing learning culture among learners with SENs through their parents must be embraced. Lastly school administrators must endeavour and launch an exploratory committee to examine school climate and identify big issues that prevented home-school collaboration in inclusive learning. Parents as a “gate keeper” is the first teacher of their children, therefore, they should be encouraged to fully participate and engage in their children’s leaning.
Conclusion
In summary this study demonstrated the significance of parental involvement in education of learners with SENs. It shows that parent’s sociocultural and economic background measured in this study as gender, marital and educational status significantly influenced the beliefs they had about involvement in their children’s education. This without doubt emphasised the importance of parent’s involvement paradigms in inclusive education in Nigeria, and further highlighted strong participation of diverse range of parents in education of their children.
 
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