Exploring conflict management strategies in the management of public schools in Zambia: a study of selected schools in Kabwe district, Zambia.
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The purpose of this study was to explore the conflict management strategies used in the management of public schools in Kabwe District, Zambia. The study was guided by the following objectives; to establish the types of conflict that are common in public schools, determine factors that lead to conflicts being experienced in public schools, to discuss how such conflicts affect the running of schools and also propose conflict management strategies to be used in management of public schools. The research approach was qualitative and a descriptive survey design was adopted. The population of the study comprised sixteen participants from four public schools. Participants included head teachers, guidance and counselling teachers, class teachers as well as supporting staffs. Purposive sampling was used as a sampling procedure and Maximum variation was the sampling technique. Data was collected by use of semi- structured interviews and it was analyzed by the use of thematic analysis. The findings of the study showed that conflict was experienced in public schools at one time or the other. The most common types of conflict were inter-group conflicts between teachers and management as well as teacher to pupil and intra-group conflicts among pupils. The study established that the main sources of conflict include late coming, absenteeism, failure to follow teaching ethics, poor teacher and pupil performance, pupils not following school rules as well as the adolescence nature of pupils. The study also revealed that conflict had negative effects on the running of the school such as de-motivation, teaching not being done effectively, work environment is affected, absenteeism, transfers and also poor performance by both teachers and learner. The study concluded that various strategies of managing conflict were used in public schools and the prominent ones were dialogue, guidance and counselling, cooperation and use of disciplinary measures. Based on the findings, the study recommended that the Ministry of General Education (MOGE) should provide on-job and in-service training courses to teachers to equip them with skills and knowledge for conflict management. Courses in conflict management should also be included in the curriculum for teachers in training institutions as a way of preparing them for conflict management in schools. Managers in schools should also apply different approaches to conflict management.
The University of Zambia