The Influence of Parental Education and Family Income on Children's Education in Rural Uganda


  • Alice Jurugo Drajeaa School of Education, Trinity College Dublin
  • Carmel O'Sullivan School of Education, Trinity College Dublin


Literacy, Parents, Rural Uganda, Poverty, Pupil Achievement


This article investigates the effect of parents' literacy levels and family income in Uganda on the quality and nature of parents' involvement in their children's primary education. A mixed-methods study with an ethnographic element was employed to explore the views and opinions of 21 participants through a qualitative approach. Methods for data collection included observation of family routines and practices, semi-structured interviews with parents and children, and review of relevant documents. Vygotsky's socio-cultural historical theory and the Feinsteinian concept of intergenerational transmission of educational success offer the basis for the investigation.

Findings indicated a significant relationship between parents' income and literacy levels and the quality of support to their children's education. Household poverty emerged as a major obstacle to educational success for children across the three socio-economic categories of family studied. Compromised lack of time for parent-child interaction proved to be the main obstacle as parents spent significant hours in non-academic matters for the day-to-day survival of their families. Parental illiteracy showed negative associations with children's literacy competence and subsequent success in primary school.

Author Biographies

Alice Jurugo Drajeaa, School of Education, Trinity College Dublin

PhD student in the School of Education

Carmel O'Sullivan, School of Education, Trinity College Dublin

Head of School