Including parents in school governance: Rhetoric or reality

Shun Wing NG

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlespeer-review

17 Citations (Scopus)


Purpose: The purpose of this paper is to report a qualitative study exploring how parents have been included in school governance in Hong Kong and in what ways their roles have been evolving in state education. Design/methodology/approach: The qualitative method was adopted in this exploratory study, the findings of which help provide insights for conceptualization of phases of progression of the development of how parents have been included in state education in Hong Kong. The method of exploration is two-fold. First, evidence was obtained through examining Hong Kong’s educational policy documents with regard to parent-school relations in the last two decades and taking reference to the literature and research studies on parent involvement in Hong Kong. Second, two focus group interviews were conducted with parents and teachers respectively, in order to obtain data of development of the relationship between home and school in times of reforms. Findings: Derived from the findings, four phases of development of how parents are included in school governance are conceptualized. They are: parents as unwelcome guests – separate responsibilities; parents as volunteers – encouraging participation; parents as clients: accountability approach; and parents as school governors – shared responsibilities. The issue of whether including parents in school governance is reality or rhetoric emerging from the data was discussed. Originality/value: The findings of this study contribute to the international studies on parent involvement in school governance, so as to formulate an effective policy that helps facilitate parents as “real” but not “rhetorical” school governors. Copyright © 2013 Emerald Group Publishing Limited.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)667-680
JournalInternational Journal of Educational Management
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - Aug 2013


Ng, S. W. (2013). Including parents in school governance: Rhetoric or reality. International Journal of Educational Management, 27(6), 667-680.


  • Hong Kong
  • Schools
  • Governance
  • Parents
  • School governance
  • Parent involvement
  • School-based management
  • Home-school relations
  • Decentralization of power
  • Parent governors


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