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PROJECT TOPIC: ASSESSMENT OF CONFLICT RESOLUTION STRATEGIES IN MANAGING CONFLICT IN SELECTED SECONDARY SCHOOLS

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CHAPTER ONE

INTRODUCTION

1.1 BACKGROUND OF THE STUDY

In Nigeria, the education system extends from primary to post secondary, with the secondary level of education in between. As a result, it can be viewed as the link between primary and secondary education. It also has the job of generating craftsmen who want to better their lot by acquiring technical knowledge and practical skills from comprehensive high schools and technical institutions (Adhiambo & Enose 2011). 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 goals, offices for various positions, such as principals, bursars, subject teachers, typists, librarians, and so on, are established, and these offices are filled by qualified and competent personnel. Each occupant of these positions is expected to perform a set of specialized responsibilities, and such consistent patterns of individual behavior are referred to as roles, which is a role that one performs inside a system.

In order to create safer and more supportive school learning environments, effective conflict resolution is essential. Conflict arises when various perspectives or opinions are inherently incompatible (Bano, Ashraf, & Zia, 2013; Ghaffar, 2010; Ramani & Zhimin, 2010). According to Adhiambo and Enose (2011), conflict causes tension and discomfort because of the fear of the unknown; as a result, it is a gloomy and unpleasant state of affairs for all parties involved. Conflict disrupts the teaching and learning process, but if carefully investigated and managed, it leads to harmonious cohabitation between instructors and school authorities.

Conflict, on the other hand, is unavoidable, and in theory, all disputes cannot be resolved and controlled (Ramani & Zhimin, 2010). However, experts suggest that teachers and school leaders should be well-versed in how conflict happens and how to respond to or manage it in order to achieve positive change while minimizing negative consequences (Olubunmi, 2014; Uchendu, Anijaobi-Idem, & Odigwe, 2013).

Aja (2013) defines conflict as "an antagonism or competition between two or more forces emerging either from the pursuit of incompatible aims or a class of rival beliefs." Conflict, according to Oboegbulem & Alfa (2013), is "a struggle over values or claims to status, authority, and scarce resources in which the warring parties' goals are not only to achieve the desired values, but also to neutralize, harm, or eliminate the rivals."

Conflict in educational institutions, particularly in public secondary schools, is largely due to the way such schools are built, as well as the conduct of individuals within these structures as they interact with one another and the community surrounding them. Conflict management, as a phenomenon, is an essential component of every given organization's administration. The school as an institution is made up of people from various backgrounds in terms of their competencies, requirements, values, skills, aspirations, and psychological make-ups. Thus, no company can achieve its goals without dealing with organizational conflicts, since Ejiogu (1999) asserted that conflicts are unavoidable in all human interactions and organizational behaviors. As a result, conflict is an unavoidable element of school life, because we all agree that where there are people, there will be conflict. Though some of these disputes are good and, when seen positively, can be change drivers, others can be detrimental to academic progress. According to Corwin (1996), unhealthy conflict has the potential to cause negative business effects if it rears its head regularly. Because conflict is an organizational behavior, we cannot deny the existence of a positive relationship between organizational behavior and organizational output. Because conflict is a change driver, persons who generate conflict can also generate change; hence, Dip Paola & Hoy (2001) discovered that militant personnel were not only conflict-oriented but also change engines in their study.

1.2 STATEMENT OF THE PROBLEM

Conflict studies reveal that working with people in organizations entails dealing with a wide range of challenges (Okotoni & Okotoni, 2003). The repercussions of conflict between teachers and school administrators, like the consequences of conflict between organizations, have been terrible. According to Oboegbulem & Alfa (2013), one of the consequences of conflicts is interruption of academic programs, insufficient staffing owing to unanticipated transfers, hatred among staff members, suspicion, and withdrawal from active engagement in school activities. These issues have an impact on the professional work of the personnel in such a way that they are unable to concentrate because they are preoccupied with other topics.

Individuals interact throughout the teaching and learning process in order to achieve educational objectives within schools; as a result, disputes within schools can occur for a variety of reasons. According to Msila (2012)'s study on conflict management and leadership, the majority of school leaders do not grasp their leadership roles. However, in a research conducted in Malaysia by Salleh (2013), insufficient resources such as finances and a lack of facilities, as well as a severe workload and dissatisfaction with management, were identified as sources of conflict. Similarly, poor facilities and money, conflicts among staff members, personality variables, and role conflicts were listed as reasons of conflict in a study done in Nigeria by Uchendu, (2013). Furthermore, the researchers contended that highly 'connected' instructors violate school laws and regulations and frequently miss class, making school management difficult for administrators.

Because conflict is natural in any organization or establishment, management must deal with it intelligently in order to maximize its benefits while minimizing its dysfunctional repercussions. Understanding the core causes of conflicts is therefore crucial for developing an effective approach to conflict management. As a result, the purpose of this study was to identify the primary drivers of conflict between teachers and school administrators, as well as the tactics utilized to manage and resolve such conflicts.


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