Teacher participation in the school's decision making process and its effects on organisational development in schools: A case of selected high schools in Kabwe, Mkushi and Serenje districts of the Central Province
Mwamba, Mwenya Nicholas
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This study tried to find out the teacher's decisional condition in high schools and its effects on organizational development using some high schools in the Central Province of Zambia as case studies. The sample consisted of eight high schools of which four were rural and four were urban. The schools were all co-education high schools.The sample had a total of eight Head teachers, thirty six Heads of Department and eighty teachers. The 1 lead teachers responded to a structured interview, the Heads of Department discussed in a focus Group Discussion and the teachers responded to a questionnaire. The qualitative research paradigm was used for data collection. The instruments were both open and closed guides. The following variables relevant to the Teacher participation in the decision making process and its effects on organization development in schools were studied: school tasks, increased teacher involvement, teacher decisional condition, effects of the decisional condition on institutional development, decision making and preferred administrative practices. Data analysis was done through categorizing themes that emerged.This was done through descriptions and statistical interpretation.Triangulation of both qualitative and quantitative techniques was employed. The overall analysis showed that there was teacher participation in the schools' decision making process and that this was more in rural high sehools than in urban high schools. Several tasks were undertaken in schools but teacher participation in decision making scored highly.This showed that schools were democratic and practiced the principle of decentralization as education boards. Teachers took part in departmental meetings where many activities were done. This was a delivery point in schools since through departmental meetings teachers planned together. Through these meetings teachers participated fully. Both the Head teachers and Heads of Department agreed that the teachers' decisional condition was participative. The study also revealed that improved schools, motivated staff and positive professional practices were as a result of the participative decisional condition of teachers. This was seen to have positively affected the development of learning institutions. It was also established through interviews and Focus Group Discussions that school performance was not affected by the decisional condition but that other factors were cited to affect it such as in relation to preferences it was established that Head teachers, 1 leads of Department and teachers preferred the participative decision making process in schools. This was to uphold the principle of democracy through decentralization. On the contrary, decentralization was not effectively implemented. The study reveals that the central government (the Ministry of Education Headquarters) still had strings attached to lower levels. The central Government provided templates for lower levels to follow. This was evidenced in the current budgeting process where thresholds were provided as were templates to follow. The lower levels therefore acted on what was already tailored. The Ministry of Education Headquarters still engineered what lower levels had to do. This was not total decentralization. Some Head teachers observed that decentralization was a vital tool which needed adequate financial, human and material resources. On the one hand, the Head teachers linked the inability to manage schools to poor managerial skills and on the other hand they concluded that these skills were not there at all. The study also established that teachers were vital elements in the school's decision making process because they were at the delivery point of education. The Ministry of Education states, "decisions will be made closer to the point of delivery. This will allow for greater responsiveness to local needs" (MOE, 1996:127).In order to improve and effectively implement the principle of decentralization the Ministry of Education should reintroduce Education Management Training for all its teaching and nonteaching staff Decentralization ought to constitute an important instrument in its systematic improvement effort. In this respect the Ministry shall continue to strive to put in place an effective and efficient education delivery system that shall be founded on a decentralized mode of service delivery, target the untapped resources and skills at the lower levels in a manner that is inclusive and consultative.
- Education