The role of school leadership in conflict management in selected secondary shools of Chingola District
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Schools in Zambia are prone to conflicts and breakdown in communication especially in an age where all role-players are aware of their rights. Conflicts in schools can be ignited by a number of aspects. Yet school head teachers, are expected to be able to creatively address conflicts in their schools.The study sought to investigate the role of school leadership in conflict management in selected secondary schools of Chingola District. The study was imperative in that a great number of schools in Zambia have been experiencing a general wave of conflicts. A survey design was adopted which used interviews and document review to collect data from a sample of (70) participants in nine public secondary schools. The sample comprised (9) head teachers, (60) teachers, and the District Education Boards Secretary. The schools were sampled using random sampling. The head teachers and the District Education Boards Secretary were sampled using purposive sampling whilst the teachers were sampled using snowball sampling. Three sets of questionnaire were used as the key data collection tool; one for the head teachers, one for teachers, and an interview schedule for DEBS and some head techers. The findings showed that head teachers, DEBS and teachers understood what the term conflict management meant in the context of the school environment. Their responses were: ability to effectively communication with teachers; approaches to control misunderstandings among teachers, students, administration and subordinate staff. The causes of conflicts were absenteeism, teachers having higher qualifications than the head ^teacher, late coming, incompetence on the part of the head teacher, teachers having a negative Iwork culture, and favoritism. ■'The findings from the study showed that a course on conflict management should be introduced in the curricula for student teachers and that it should also be introduced as a regular refresher course for teachers and school administrators. School administration has been adversely affected by lack of knowledge of conflict management. Hence, most of them administrators handled conflicts by trial and error approach because there were no specific procedures and methods of managing conflicts. The findings showed that confiict management strategies commonly used were confrontation, avoidance, dialogue, charging the teacher, communication and scolding the teacher. All in all respondents understood the term conflict management. They too brought out causes of conflict in schools. Though the school leadership lacked training in conflict managenieiil they had conflict strategy methods they employed in trying to solve conflict in their respective schools. In light of the findings, the study recommended that induction of school head teachers should be mandatory and conflict management should be among the important aspects in this induction. It also recommended that courses in conflict management should be included in the curriculum for teachers in training as a way of preparing them for conflict management in school administration.
: The University of Zambia
Master of Science in Peace, Leadership and Conflict Resolution