Parental participation in schooling: A divorce of convenience

  • Christopher James Martin
  • Elsa Guzmán Flores


Although since the 1993 Education Act in Mexico established parental participation in schools through the newly created school participation councils (CEPs), these have rarely been more than a dead letter. Most of the studies on the subject have attempted to explain why this is so in the general terms. However these have lacked close ethnographic study of school processes that include the CEPSs. This article draws on three years of field research in a rural school zone in Jalisco. Not satisfied with culturally essentialist notions of parental apathy of disinterest the authors examine the reason why this couture of silence occurs. Through a journey of understanding of school-community relations of several primary and one secondary school that included classroom observation of teaching, ethnographic interviews and conversations with parents we reached the conclusion that the relationship between school and community is “a divorce of convenience”. Each party finds it more convenient to keep it from the other rather than collaborating to improve the education of the students. The details of this phenomenon are discussed in the article.

Biografía del autor

Christopher James Martin
Doctor en Antropología y Educación por la Universidad de Londres. Honory Visiting Associate, Institute of Education, University College, Londres. Sus líneas de investigación versan sobre temas educativos y sociedad.
Elsa Guzmán Flores
Doctora en Antropología e Historia por la Universidad de Wageningen en Holanda. Asesora de proyectos en Casa Universitaria de Tizapán de la Universidad Virtual de la Universidad de Guadalajara. Sus líneas de investigación abordan temas de antropología política sobre conflictos rurales y educación.


Como citar este artículo: James, C. y Guzmán, E. (enero-junio, 2016). Parental participation in schooling: A divorce of convenience. Sinéctica, 46. Recuperado de:

Investigaciones temáticas