The nature and effect of conflict management systems in selected Secondary Schools of Matero Zone in Lusaka District
Chanda, Cassius Eusebius
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This study focused on establishing the nature, causes, effects and strategies being used in managing conflicts among pupils, teachers and Head Teachers in selected Secondary Schools of Matero Zone in Lusaka District. In this study the sample size was 24 respondents of which 15 were pupils, 3 Head Teachers and 6 teachers drawn from 3 secondary schools. Within this sample, three focus group discussions were held. Furthermore, in order to have first-hand information, the researcher held interviews with teachers and Head Teachers. Document review was equally deployed to collect data. The causes of conflict were said to include poor communication, poor conditions of service, misuse or embezzlement of school funds, indiscipline on the part of students and teachers, inadequate resources, lack of clear jurisdiction, administrative incompetency, personality differences, conflicts of interest, and changes within the organization. The study found out that pupils, teachers and Head Teachers as individuals or groups have undeniable needs for identity, dignity, security, equity and participation in decisions that affect them. Frustration of these basic needs became a source of social conflict among pupils, teachers and Head Teachers in selected Secondary Schools of Matero Zone in Lusaka District The results of this research revealed that conflicts occurred frequently in these schools and no single school was completely an exception. Various conflict management strategies were employed to resolve conflicts among pupils, teachers and Head Teachers in selected Secondary Schools of Matero Zone in Lusaka District, namely; obliging style, mediation, integrating strategy, dominating, compromise and conflict avoidance to mention but a few. Conflict management strategies were deemed successful if they achieved a win-win or consensual agreement accepted by both parties. The benefits of conflicts included improved understanding of tasks, team development and quality of group decision making. On the other hand, the negative consequences in some cases included dysfunctional team work, decreased work satisfaction, forced transfers for teachers and disciplinary action on pupils. The findings of this study showed that active engagement rather than avoidance was vital in resolving conflicts. The study, therefore, recommended that the Ministry of General Education should be appointing Head Teachers who are trained in the field of Education Administration and Management. These Head Teachers have basic understanding of Conflict Management Systems in schools. The study further recommended that workshops on conflict resolutions should be mounted for teachers and school administrators to ensure that there is justice and fairness in resolving conflicts at school level. Finally, the study recommended that Ministry of General Education should conduct frequent monitoring to ensure that transparency and accountability is adhered to by school leadership especially on conflicts to do with finances.
The University of Zambia