The Roles Of Teachers' Association (P.T.A) In Conflict Resolution In Secondary Schools In North West Region, Cameroon
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1.1 Background of the Study
The involvement of parents in the conflict resolution in secondary schools is a development that seems to challenge practitioners engaged in school reform despite being a required component of many school improvement initiatives. A growing body of research such as Charles and Senter (2004), Johnson and Duffet (2003) and Iqbal, Tatlar and Zafar (2011), show that successful parent involvement improves not only student behavior and attendance but also positively affects student achievement. Despite this important observation, many schools in most countries including Cameroon continue to struggle with defining and measuring meaningful parental involvement, and many do not feel that their efforts are successful.
The findings of a survey conducted in the United States of America revealed that approximately 20 percent of new teachers and nearly one fourth of principals identify their relationships with parents as a cause of significant stress in their jobs (MetLife, 2005). There is therefore need for parents to step in through the Parents Teachers Association (PTA), and forge a good relationship between teachers and students, as this will go a long way in enhancing discipline in the schools.
The Parents Teachers Association, like the name indicates, is an association, comprising Teachers and Parents. It is obvious from the name, that such an association is formed for the welfare of children/students in mind and the welfare of the school in general. National Congress of Parents and Teachers, also National Parent-Teacher Association (PTA), a child and youth advocacy volunteer group, the largest of its type in the United States, founded in 1897 in Washington D.C. (Microsoft Encarta 2007).
Parent-Teachers Association (PTA) is a voluntary and welfare organization that brings together the major stakeholders in education, which are the parents, guardians and teachers of pupils in a particular school. They help in fund-raising, maintenance of discipline, seeing to the welfare of the school, and creating a bound between the school, the home, and the community, between the parents and the teachers and building parent involvement at school and other activities relating to the welfare of the school, rather than the progress of individual pupils. Eze, (2008) defined P.T.A as “a membership organization for parents of students/pupils and teachers of schools. The associations are groups made up of parents, teachers and sometimes others within the school community. They provide a range of opportunities for parents or care givers to be actively involved in supporting schools, for the overall benefits of their children. The importance of PTA cannot be over emphasized, especially now that it is clear that government alone cannot shoulder the responsibility of providing qualitative education for every citizen.”
PTAs may have varying aims and objectives depending on the country where they operate, but there are some universal aims and objectives that seem to cut across all regions (Iqbal et al. 2011). They are charged with the responsibility of working for the well-being of every student of the institution, in the home and in the society. They can also enhance awareness and understanding of parents to the fact that they have a vital role to play in the provision of quality education. They encourage parents‟ involvement in improving the standard of the institutions. It is also their duty to create awareness among the people involved that optimum use should be made of the educational facilities being offered by the government. PTA also aims to motivate parents especially in the rural areas, to send their children to school. It is their responsibility to find ways and means to decrease students‟ dropout ratio and teacher absenteeism in the institutions. They can achieve all these by developing a congenial and harmonious relationship between parents and teachers avoiding bureaucratic rigidity on either side (Iqbal et al. 2011). The researcher sought to find out if the PTAs in Umuahia were carrying out the above stated roles effectively, which can enhance discipline in the students and produce good results.
The Parents Teachers Association was set up, not to take over the running of schools from the principals, or school administrators, but to complement the efforts of government and school staff, for the well-being of everybody in the school environment. Government needs to step in and improve on the modalities for improving the participation of the PTA in the administration of schools.
1.2 Statement of the Problem
The level of discipline maintained in secondary schools will largely depend on the willingness of the school principal to enlist support from PTA members in conflict resolution (Kiumi, Bosire and Sang, 2009). In spite of existence of PTA in all public secondary schools in North West Region, Cameroon, the high prevalence of conflict and indiscipline cases among students connotes a serious disconnect between parents, teachers and students.
In teaching and learning process, individuals interact in order to realize educational objectives within schools, as such; there are various reasons for conflicts to occur within the schools. For example, a study by Msila (2012) on conflict management and leadership stated that majority of schools leaders lack understanding of their leadership roles. However, a study in Malaysia by Salleh (2013) identified insufficient resource such as finances and lack of facilities as well as heavy workload and dissatisfaction with management as some of the sources of conflicts.
Similarly, a study by Uchendu et al. (2013) conducted in Cameroon cited sources of conflicts as; inadequate facilities and funding, conflicts among staff members, conflict among students, personality factors, and role conflicts. Besides, the researchers also argued that highly ‘connected’ teachers break school rules and regulations and absent themselves from school which makes school management a problem for leaders.
The role of PTA in conflict resolution is therefore central to effective and efficient organization of school management (Ramani & Zhimin, 2010). Since conflict is natural in any organization, the resolution must rationally deal with it so as to create ways which maximize its benefits and minimize its dysfunctional consequences. To be able to develop a workable approach to conflict management, understanding the root causes of conflicts is therefore critical. This study was therefore designed to identify the role of PTA in conflict resolution in secondary schools, and to determine which strategies are used to manage and resolve such conflicts.
Conversely, the delayed attempt to remedy the situation has tremendously lowered quality and standards of education in Cameroon (DEO, 2013). This study has set out to ascertain the roles of Teachers Association (P.T.A) in conflict resolution in secondary schools.
1.3 Purpose of the Study
The main purpose of this study is to the roles of Teachers Association (P.T.A) in conflict resolution in secondary schools in North West Region, Cameroon
- i) The role PTA can play to help resolve conflicts in secondary schools
- ii) The PTA activities used in enhancing discipline effective;
iii) How to improve the relationship between the school and the PTA;
- iv) How to improve PTA participation in providing infrastructures and
equipment in secondary schools.
1.4 Research questions
- i) What role does PTA play to help resolve conflicts in secondary schools?
- ii) What extent are the PTA activities used in enhancing discipline effective?
iii) How can the relationship between the school and the PTA be improved?
iv) How can PTA participation in providing infrastructures and equipment in secondary schools be improved