NATURE AND MANAGEMENT OF CONFLICTS AMONG PUBLIC SECONDARY SCHOOL STUDENTS IN NIGERIA
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The study examines the nature and management of conflict among public secondary school students in Abuja. The study explores the various types of conflict, the causes of conflict and palliative measures. The study then examined the effects of conflict, agreeing that there are both positive and negative sides to this. Conflict resolution and its mechanisms were then analyzed. In all organizations such as schools and corporate entities, conflict is never and can never be a strange phenomenon. It is in fact part of organizational life and part of our everyday existence. A survey research design was adopted as the methodology of the study as is it most appropriate because of the large population involve. The research relies on primary data which was sourced by the researcher with the aid of the questionnaire which is the instrument of data collection. The researcher analysis this data collected with the aid of SPSS 23 and the percentage method and chi-square statistics were the method of data analysis. The study concluded by maintaining that for the school system to continue being relevant in its core mandate of societal transformation, effective conflict resolution strategies should be fashioned to handle conflict situations when they arise. The study recommends that the school administrators should be proactive in identifying the courses and nature of the conflict among entire staff of the school before applying the available conflict techniques, strategies and methods at their disposals. They school administrators should be sensitive to students’ grievances before the grievances get out of hand. This could be done by having discussions with students on pressing issues in the schools and by allowing students to participate in decision-making.
TABLE OF CONTENTS
1.1 Background to the Study—————————————————-7
1.2 Statement of the Research Problem—————————————14
1.3 Research Questions———————————————————-15
1.4 Objectives of the Study —————————————————–16
1.5 Research Hypotheses——————————————————–17
1.6 Significance of the Study—————————————————18
1.7 Scope and Limitation of the Study—————————————–19
1.8 Definition of Terms———————————————————–20
1.9 Organization of the Study—————————————————20
LITERATURE REVIEW AND THEORETICAL FRAMEWORK
2.1 Conceptual Reviews——————————————————–21
2.6 Theoretical Framework——————————————————66
2.7 Empirical Review———————————————————–69
3.2 Sources of data collection———————————————73
3.3 Population of the study————————————————74
3.4 Sampling and sampling distribution———————————-74
3.5 Validation of research instrument————————————–75
3.6 Method of data analysis————————————————-75
DATA PRESENTATION, ANALYSIS AND DISCUSSION OF FINDINGS
4.2 Data analysis————————————————————-77
SUMMARY CONCLUSION AND RECOMMENDATIONS
5.1 Summary ———————————————————————-88
- Background to the study
Education system in Nigeria runs a continuum from primary to tertiary and in between can be found the secondary level of education. It can therefore be seen as the bridge interconnecting primary education and tertiary education. It also has the function of producing artisans who desire to improve their lot through technical knowledge and vocational skills that could be acquired from comprehensive high schools and technical colleges. The public secondary schools under study like other schools in the same category in Nigeria are established to carry out these specialized tasks and in order to achieve these objectives of establishment there are offices for different positions, such as principals, bursars, subject teachers, typists, librarians etc. and these offices are filled by qualified and competent personnel. Each occupant of these positions is expected to perform a set of specialized functions and such stable patterns of individual behaviors are called roles, which is a part that one plays within a system. A system can be referred to as an object, event or procedure which is made up of different parts that are working together or independently to accomplish predetermined objectives. The roles within a system therefore can be seen as a pattern of behavior which is familiar and expected of those who occupy the various positions within the system. According to Nakpodia (2000) since the school is an organized system, these individual roles are mutually interdependent and the overall pattern of their interdependence is called the school structure. In performing these roles there is bound to be interplay of relationship between players. For instance, the staff interacts with management, fellow members of staff, students, parents, ministry officials and the community at large. These interactions in the course of performing his duty is what is known as the employee role set and to maintain the school structure, there must be role reciprocity between members of the school community according to some shared understanding of what behavior is expected of them and what behavior they in turn expect, with the ultimate goal of realizing the objectives of the school. Staff conflict as expressed by various organizations is not an empirical phenomenon; rather it can be seen as an engine of change and a product of change. The occurrence of conflict in educational institutions especially in public secondary schools in Delta state is largely attributable to the way such schools are structured and the behavior of the individuals within these structures as they relate with one another and the community around them. Conflict management as a phenomenon is an integral part of the administration of secondary schools. The school as an organization consists of people with different background with regard to their competences, needs, values, skills, aspirations and psychological make-ups. Thus, no organization can successfully accomplish its set objectives without having to deal with organizational conflicts as Ejiogu (1990) posited that conflicts are bound to occur from time to time in all human interactions and organizational behaviors. Conflict therefore is an inevitable part of school life; since we agree to the fact that where there are people, there is bound to be conflict. Though some of these conflicts are healthy and if viewed positively can be change drivers, some can be detrimental to the achievement of school goals. Corwin (1996) stated that unhealthy conflict if it raises its head repeatedly, pose the potential risk of causing negative consequences. It is therefore not an aberration to expect conflicts in the administration of secondary schools in Gwagwalada Abuja. The nature and types of conflicts that occur in secondary school administration vary from one school to another. These types of conflicts include internal and external conflict. Internal conflict is person versus self, while external is person versus nature and environment. According to Kirkwood (2002), various types of conflict that exist in organizations include data conflicts, structural conflicts, relationship conflicts, and interest conflicts. Conflicts can lead to disputes, grievances, lawsuits, complaints, strikes, and disciplinary actions. Conflicts can occur at a number of levels of human functioning. Conflict which lies on the shoulder of an administrator between opposing motives or ideas is shown by its “internal dialogue” and is at the intra- personal level. According to Okeibunor and Anugwom (2002), the primary concern here is with the social conflict, that is, conflict between people whether they are acting as individuals, as members of groups, or as representatives of organizations or nations. Interpersonal conflicts occur when two or more people have incompatible needs, goals, or approach in their relationship.
Communication breakdown is often an important source of interpersonal conflict and learning communication skill is valuable in preventing and resolving such difficulties. However, very real differences occur between people that cannot be resolved by any amount of improved communication. “Personality conflict” refers to very strong differences in motives, values or style in dealing with people that are not resolvable. For example, if both parties in a relationship have a high need for power and both want to be dominant in the relationship, there is no way both can be satisfied, and a power struggle ensues. Common tactics used in interpersonal power struggle include the exaggerated use of rewards and punishments, deception and evasion, threats and emotional blackmail. Unresolved power conflict usually recycles and escalates to the point of relationship breakdown and termination. Role conflict involves very real differences in role definitions, expectations or responsibilities between individuals who are interdependent in a social system. If there are ambiguities in role definitions in an organization or unclear boundaries of responsibilities, then the stage is set for interpersonal friction between the persons involved. Unfortunately, role conflict is often misdiagnosed as interpersonal conflict rather than role conflict, and resolution is then complicated and misdirected. The emotional intensity is often quit high in role conflict since people are directly involved as individuals and there is a strong tendency to personalize the conflict (Fisher, 2000). Inter-group conflict occurs between groups of people such as ethnic or racial groups, departments or levels of decision making in the same organization, union and management. Competition for scarce resources is a common source of inter-group conflict in less disruptive ways. According to Fisher (2000), social-psychological processes are very important in inter-group conflict. Group members tend to develop stereotypes (oversimplified negative beliefs) of the opposing group, tend to blame them for their own problems (scape-goat), and practice discrimination against them. These classic symptoms of inter group conflict can be just as evident in organizations as in race relations in community settings. Inter-group conflict is tense and prone to escalation when identities are threatened. The common conflicts observable in secondary schools usually occur between the students on one hand and the school authority on the other. Other forms of conflict include interpersonal conflicts among staff as well as among the students. Higher levels of conflicts in schools involve the Nigeria Union of Teachers (NUT) and the federal or state government. For instance, Abuja workers (teachers inclusive) embarked on a prolonged strike from August 17th to September 30th, 2011 over the non-implementation of the Harmonized Salary Structure (HSS) announced by the Federal Government in October 2010. The partial implementation of HSS for workers in the state after a long delay did not help matters. Such things as non-satisfaction of teachers’ genuine demand are potential sources of industrial conflicts not only in the educational sector, but also in the entire civil service in the state. The inability of the government to effect payment of salaries promptly could generate conflict between workers and the government or an organization. Principals, teachers and educational administrators perceive the commonest source of conflicts in secondary schools as poor salaries and inadequate facilities.
Read Also: GOOD GOVERNANCE AND CONFLICT MANAGEMENT
The conflicts that arise in secondary school system could be attributed to such factors as lack of effective communication network, unconducive atmosphere or the working environment generally, management style, and disagreement over goals. Conflicts are inherent and inevitable in any human organization, including the educational system. (Fisher, 2000) Conflict occurs when two or more values, perspectives and opinions are contradictory in nature and have not been aligned or agreed about yet, including: within oneself when one is not living according to one’s values; when values and perspectives are threatened; or discomfort from fear of the unknown or from lack of fulfillment. Conflicts is inevitable and often good, for example, good teams always go through a “form, storm norm and perform” period. Getting the most out of diversity means often-contradictory values, perspectives and opinions (McNamara, 2007). The existence and prevalence of such conflict and their traumatic effects cannot be ignored or allowed to linger. It should be controlled and resolved, because when hostility is not resolved, the effect is disharmony and lack of peace. According to Oputa (2003), peace advances development, growth and progress, peace is order, peace is brotherhood and peace is life itself. This is to say that when conflicts are allowed to linger, no matter at what level, the school will not be able to achieve its aims and objectives and develop as expected even with the highest quality of staff and infrastructure. Hence, unrestricted and unresolved conflict is dysfunctional to any organization.
1.2 STATEMENT OF THE RESEARCH PROBLEM
Several studies have been conducted on conflict management in private, public and government business enterprise. Empirical studies have always focused on principals’ conflict management strategies, conflict management in primary and secondary schools, types and causes of conflict, etc. But little has been done on the nature of conflict. As it is the nature of conflict that determines it management strategy. Conflict has become major obstacle to personnel productivity and the realization of national objectives; and in particular, educational aims and objectives. Employees in the education sector have many a time in recent times embarked on strikes to press home their demands for improved conditions of service and regular payments of salaries, professionalization of teaching, establishment of national commission for secondary schools and teaching service commission at state levels. The students are not left out. Students of public secondary schools disrupt school programs, either by boycotting lectures, writing damaging posters and protests riots, or through clashes by cult groups and others. However, cases of students-related conflict leading to killing of teachers, fellow students and closure of schools are rampant in secondary schools as it is in tertiary institutions. Secondary schools in Gwagwalada are not isolated from these disruptive behaviors. At times, conflicts in schools are as a result of conflict from the society or the school community, unwillingness on the part of the government to honor agreements jointly entered into by government(s) and unions. For instance, in 1992/93 there was a national strike from October 8, 1992 to January 29, 1993 (114 days) over the demand for teachers’ salary structure (TSS) and professionalization of teaching. Efforts have been made in the past to foster peace by school authorities, the government, unions, and the students, which most often end up in dead luck. All these conflicts either within the educational sector or the society at large have often times paralyzed social, economic and educational activities. No matter how, or the forms they come, they are conflicts since they disrupt activities. Against this background, therefore, the problem of this study is what management strategies can be adopted for the resolution of conflict in public secondary schools.
1.3 RESEARCH QUESTION
The following research questions were formulated to aid the completion of the study:
- What are the causes of conflict among secondary school students in Nigerian public secondary schools?
- What are the factors that influence the dynamics of conflicts among secondary school students in the FCT?
- In what ways have conflict among students impacted negatively on the smooth running of public secondary schools in Gwagwalada?
- What is the effect of conflict management strategies on the academic performance of student in public secondary schools in Gwagwalada?
1.4 RESEARCH OBJECTIVE
The central objective of this study is to examine the nature and management of conflicts among secondary school students in the FCT with a view to determining the implications for their academic performance, using Government Secondary School, Gwagwalada as focus of analysis.
The specific objectives are to:
- Explore the historical antecedent of western education in Nigeria.
- Ascertain the causes of conflicts among secondary school students in Nigeria public secondary schools
- Ascertain the factors that influence the dynamics of conflicts among secondary school students in the FCT
- Examine the ways that conflict among students impacted negatively on the smooth running of public secondary schools in Gwagwalada
- Examine the effect of conflict management strategies on the academic performance of student in public secondary schools in Gwagwalada
1.5 RESEARCH HYPOTHESES
The following research hypotheses were formulated as an aid for the completion of the study;
H0: there is no significant relationship between nature of conflict and conflict management approach is public secondary school
H1: there is a significant relationship between nature of conflict and conflict management approach is public secondary school
H0: the nature of conflict does not have any impact on the smooth running of public secondary schools in Gwagwalada
H2: the nature of conflict does have an impact on the smooth running of public secondary schools in Gwagwalada
1.6 SIGNIFICANCE OF THE STUDY
Practically, the findings of this study will be of a great significance to the following set of people: the secondary school principals, teachers, students, educational administrators and planners, state secondary education boards, ministry of education and Governments. For the secondary school principals, the findings will provide the principals with the appropriate information regarding strategies for conflict resolution which would assist them in the running of their schools. It will also provide principals and teachers alike with the appropriate opportunity to see themselves as partners in progress. The study will illuminate the principals on the proper application of conflict theories in the resolution of conflicts for effective administration. To the teachers, it is hoped that this study will help the teachers of public secondary schools to realize that they have vital roles to play in the resolution of conflict in their schools, as well provide the greater knowledge and awareness of the need and techniques of fostering life-long cooperation, understanding and friendliness wherever they find themselves the findings of this study are expected to be beneficial to school administrators because when they get to know the strategies to apply in conflicts resolution they can be willing to give teachers free hand and support when such cases arise.
1.7 SCOPE AND LIMITATION OF THE STUDY
The scope of the studies covers the nature and management of conflicts among public secondary school students in the federal capital territory, with emphasis on government secondary school Gwagwalada, The study identifies the causes of conflicts in public secondary schools, identify the nature of conflicts, determines the impacts of conflicts on the administration of public secondary schools; and finds out how principals use known strategies in resolving conflicts in public secondary schools in Abuja, but in the course of this study, there are some factors that limit the scope of the study:
AVAILABILITY OF RESEARCH MATERIAL: The research material available to the researcher is insufficient, thereby limiting the study
TIME: The time frame allocated to the study does not enhance wider coverage as the researcher have to combine other academic activities and examinations with the study.
FINANCE: The finance available for this research work does not allow for wider coverage as resources are very limited as the researcher has other academic bills to cover.
1.8 OPERATIONAL DEFINITION OF TERMS
A secondary school is an organization that provides secondary education and the building where this takes place. Some secondary schools provide both lower secondary education and upper secondary education
1.9 ORGANIZATION OF THE STUDY
This research work is organized in five chapters, for easy understanding, as follows
Chapter one is concern with the introduction, which consist of the (overview, of the study), statement of problem, objectives of the study, research question, significance or the study, research methodology, definition of terms and historical background of the study. Chapter two highlight the theoretical framework on which the study its based, thus the review of related literature. Chapter three deals on the research design and methodology adopted in the study. Chapter four concentrate on the data collection and analysis and presentation of finding. Chapter five gives summary, conclusion, and recommendations made of the study.
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