A Comparative Exploration of Parental Involvement in Bangladeshi Early Childhood Education Centers : ECE Centers as Societal Actor Interfering with Cultural Assumptions of Family
Abstract: This comparative study explores parental involvement during the process of mainstreaming Early Childhood Education (ECE) in Dhaka, Bangladesh. Using an ethnographic approach with emphasis on a subtle realist ontology it compares two ECE centers operationalisations of parental involvement and staff's experiences of this aspect of their work. Findings showed that the centers had to navigate cultural underpinnings of parental mistrust and knowledge deficiency in their operationalisation of parental involvement. The centers navigated the cultural conditions by allowing parents CCTV access, or by providing parental education and workshops via scaffolding techniques of experts to gain an audience amongst parents. The center's proactive or reactive approach during the initial stages of parental involvement resulted in various implications for the continuous collaboration between staff and parents at the center. The study contextualises parental involvement within the broader Bangladeshi society, suggesting that the ECE centers becomes an external societal actor interfering in home life, creating a collision between cultural understandings of the home (poribar/bari) and the ECE center, which presented hindrances to parental involvement. The study additionally discusses implications of the Covid-19 epidemic and suggestions for the future of ECE mainstreaming in Bangladesh.
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