Foundation phase teachers’ views of the involvement of male caregivers in young children’s education

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Background: Studies in South Africa show a high prevalence of male caregiver absence in the lives of children under the age of 9 years. In this respect, foundation phase teachers are well positioned to provide input and shed light on how schools can contribute towards improving male caregiver involvement in their children’s early education. Aim: This study aimed to explore foundation phase teachers’ views of the involvement of male caregivers in the education and development of young children. Setting: The paper reports on the qualitative phase of a mixed methods study conducted in three township schools near Johannesburg. Methods: Focus group interviews involving a sample of 17 foundation phase teachers were conducted in three schools. An iterative coding process within a generic qualitative data analysis approach was carried out to articulate overarching ideas and themes. Results: The results highlight how teachers’ taken-for-granted gendered assumptions about the roles of females and males in the education and development of foundation phase children and about the children’s care arrangements influence how they communicate with parents, unconsciously alienating male caregivers. Conclusion: Although teachers had not considered the role of male caregivers in the early years of children’s education, they acknowledged that such an undertaking would be beneficial to the learners and the school. Therefore, the authors argue for training aimed at capacitating foundation phase teachers with the essential competencies necessary to galvanise and increase meaningful involvement of male caregivers in the education of learners in pre-service and in-service teacher professional development.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbera1050
JournalSouth African Journal of Childhood Education
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2021


  • Early childhood education and development
  • Father involvement
  • Foundation phase
  • Male caregivers
  • Parental involvement

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Education
  • Developmental and Educational Psychology


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