The role of parent managers in school management committees in secondary schools in Hong Kong
The thesis investigates the role of parent managers in school management committees in Hong Kong and explores the policy development and intentions of the Government of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region of the People's Republic of China in introducing the reform to enhance parent participation. This study focuses on the impact of the reform and the match/mismatch between the reform aims and the expectations of the parents. It comprises a survey of the role of parent managers in school management committees in government and aided schools and interviews with principals and parent managers in three selected schools. The findings show that the reform has had little impact on the aided schools and there is strong opposition from the sponsoring bodies. There is also a mismatch between government aims and parent expectations. The government considers the most effective form of parent participation to be in school governance, while parents care mainly about their children's learning. Parents lack the knowledge, skills and the time to perform the monitoring role and hold schools accountable. They have little influence in decision-making and they have strong trust in the school heads. Partnership has not developed as parents are regarded as unequal partners and they are willing to perform roles assigned to them by the heads. Parents' attitude towards participation in decision-making is found to be more positive and they can even perform a better job than the principals in explaining school policies to other parents and gaining parent support. The findings suggest that the government should re-establish the harmonious working relations with the sponsoring bodies and match government aims with parent expectations. Schools should develop shared goals with parents and identify issues that require their active participation.