PARENTS see education as the best means of securing their children's future. That is why they take such a close interest in their offsprings' school results. But do they have any real influence on the educational system?
Except in Turkey, Hungary, and France, European parents can take part in schools' decisionmaking process through parents' committees.
In Belgium, for example, two national federations of parents' associations represent public and private schools, respectively. The government consults these federations about educational projects.
In Britain, the authorities aim to enlist the active participation of parents through a system of ``home schooling contracts.'' These contracts bind parents to help their children with their homework. In the United States, parents can be elected to school boards and in this way influence teaching methods.
But in general, parents' influence is slight and mostly restricted to the primary level.