The perceptions of parents and educators with regards to formal and informal education.
In general, a particularly complicated and difficult relationship has existed between parents and educators, due in part, to the fact that educators have always been seen as the experts and proverbial holders of knowledge in the educational process while parents have been seen to be peripheral to this process. This inequality is seen to be problematic as a child's significant learning is increasingly understood to occur in both the home and school contexts. This study explored the perceptions of a selection of parents and educators across the three levels of the educational process with the aim of facilitating a dialogue amongst all the participants in order to establish partnerships that would assist in the integration of the formal and informal learning processes. Using the Dialogue Game as a research tool, the participants in this study revealed many of the dilemmas that inhibit the establishment of partnerships between the two contexts. While the educators appeared resistant to the idea of a partnership as they perceived themselves to be 'experts' in the area of education, parents were aware that significant learning occurs in many contexts, but felt unconfident in their abilities to educate children. Some of the findings from the current study mirror those of two earlier studies (Van der Riet, 1997 and Danckwerts, 2002) conducted in the Eastern Cape and KwaZulu-Natal, respectively. Although all three samples were drawn from different socio-economic and cultural groups, the findings would suggest that the parents and educators of South Africa have essentially similar perceptions regarding formal and informal education.