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Challenges of Teachers in Decision Making Essay

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The purpose of this study is to investigate the extent to which teachers participate in Decision-making at Government Secondary school Omala, Omala L.G.A. argues that purposeful planning depends on effective decision-making. Teachers and educational managers make decisions on a daily basis. These decisions may influence pupils, teachers and the future of the school. Dawn of new Education system has seen a proliferation of Educational policy and legislation specifying and advocating full participation by stakeholders in the governance and management of schools. The education policy documents
continuously refer to the democratisation of schools and the education system as a whole. The documents that have made this call, include the National Education Policy Investigation Report, A policy framework for education and training, the White Paper on Education and Training which all culminated in Kogi State Schools that is currently the driving force behind the operation of all schools in Kogi State. The report of task Team on Education Management Development suggested that, in line with similar trends in several other States, has placed Kogi State schools firmly on the road to a school based system of management where schools will increasingly come to manage themselves. The report suggests further that effective self-management must be accompanied by an internal devolution of power within the school and greater participation of all decision-making processes. The work on self-managing schools is strongly influencing later developments that devolution of power to school must be matched by an empowerment of people within the school. In this research, it has been suggested that the notion of participative approaches, which has become enriched in the “folklore” of education management, is the most appropriate way to run schools, it has become closely associated with school effectiveness and improvement.

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It is important to look closely at the Secondary school education system with the view of determining how decisions are taken at school. Prior to the introduction of Teachers participation in decision making, teachers did not have a say in decisions that affected them in their daily lives. The problem which is the main focus in this research is to determine to what extent the teachers participate in decision-making in secondary schools at Government Secondary School Omala, Omala Local government Area of Kogi State, in order to ensure their satisfaction as well as the achievement of the schools’ goals.


➢ To determine what is the current situation regarding participative
decision-making at Government Secondary School Omala, Omala Local government Area of Kogi State.

➢ To determine what effect the implementation of current participative decision-making has on secondary schools at Government Secondary School Omala,OmalaLocal government Area of Kogi State

➢ To determine how participative decision-making affects teachers’ morale.

➢ To determine what changes are desirable to teachers in the management approach.


This study is a focused case study of teacher participation in decision-making at Government Secondary School Omala, Omala Local government Area of Kogi State.


1.5.1 Decision – making: Decision-making can be seen as the process of consciously choosing the most suitable way of action to solve or handle a particular problem after various alternatives have been considered to achieve the set goals or objectives.

1.5.2 School Management Team: Is a group of teachers who are involved in the task of leading and managing schools Example; Head of Department (HOD), deputy principal and principal.



The Decision-making is a continual management function which plays an important part in the management process and which is vital to all the
cyclical management functions. Some scholars like Kruger and Van (1996:19) argue that when the principal allows teachers to participate in certain aspects of the management of the school, she/he gives an opportunity to teachers to experience responsibility. By so doing, the principal does not relinquish his/her authority but his/her authority is enhanced. Pretorius (2010) believes that clinical leadership increases a position relationship between principals and teachers. Therefore, teachers become committed to teaching, because they are participating in decisions that affect them. According to Professor Aturata (2008), in the light of trend towards the decentralized school Management in Kogi State, research indicates that teachers need to be empowered to participate fully in decision-making. Also argues that the concept of educator empowerment in decision-making needs to be closely studied in terms of its effect on educator participation in decision-making at school.Professor Soyinka: states that an effective schooling can only occur when both the principal and teachers are involved in the decision-making process. Non-involvement of teachers in decision-making may result in conflict, as there is no consultation between principal and educators on policy matters and operational procedures at school. However probable only one way to democratize schools. To practice democracy means learning to be responsible for freedom, to make long term strategic decisions and most importantly, to accept the fact that democracy is possible when all participants in the educational process share it. Sule Maitama et al. (2009) cite the following from the educational system, “The government’s effective educational programmes depend on a process of consultation and negotiation among those vitally affected”. So the policies adopted will reflect their values and goals, thus increasing the prospect of wholehearted support.


Decision-making has never been easy and it is especially challenging for the educational managers of today. The Decisions can be made by the Principal as an individual or in a group where the entire staff or a select group of staff members will be present. The two contexts of decision-making differ significantly. Educational managers should evaluate the nature of the
problems and decisions to be made and then decide if participative or group decision-making is called for. Decision-making can be seen as a process of consciously.

Choosing the most suitable way of action to solve or handle a particular problem after various alternatives have been considered to achieve the set goals and objectives. This implies that decision-making must be converted into action. The decision-making process involves a series of complex interactions of events. These interactions constitute the following stages, namely:

(i) Study the existing situation carefully.

(ii) Recognize and define the problem.

(iii) Examine the detailed make-up of the problem in the existing situation.

(iv) Decide on the criteria for resolving the problem.

(v) Develop a plan for action.

(vi) Initiate the plan of action.


2.3.1 The classical model: The classical decision theory assumes that decisions should be completely rational. This model employs an optimsing strategy by seeking the best possible alternative to maximize the achievement of goals and objectives. According to the classical model, the decision-making process is a series of sequential steps as follows:

(i) A problem is identified.

(ii) Goals and objectives are established.

(iii) All the possible alternatives are generated.

(iv) The consequences of each alternative are considered.

(v) All the alternatives are evaluated in terms of the goals and objectives.

(vi) The best alternative is selected, that is, the one that maximizes the goals and Objectives.

(vii) Finally, the decision is implemented and evaluated.

2.3.2 The administrative model

Hoy and Miskel (2006:317) say that this is the strategy of satisficing in an attempt to provide a more accurate description of the way administrators both do and should make organisational decisions. This model rests upon the basic assumption that: The decision-making Process is a cycle of events that includes identification and diagnosis of a difficulty, the reflective development of a plan to alleviate the difficulty, the initiation of the plan, and the appraisal of its success.” This model relies on both experience and theory to guide decision-making.


Since participative management has become popular, an increasing number of decisions have been made by groups rather than individuals. In the group decision-making process, decisions are the product of interpersonal decision-making processes and group dynamics. According to Merry Parker people who have been allowed a voice in decisions that affect them are more likely to be accepted and adhere to the decisions and quality of a decision refers to the extent to which the decision is ultimately successful in meeting the goals and objectives of the decision makers.

2.4.1 Collegial model of management:The collegial model includes all those theories which emphasise that power and decision-making should be shared
among some or all members of the organization. These approaches range from a restricted collegiality where the leader shares power with a limited number of senior colleagues to a pure collegiality where all members have an equal voice in determining policy. Collegial models assume that Organizations determine policy and make decisions through a process of discussion leading to consensus. Power is shared among some or all members of the organization who are thought to have a mutual understanding about the objectives of the schools.

2.4.2 Application of collegiality in a secondary school situation: The introduction of the collegial model in secondary schools has been slower than in higher education. The tradition of all powerful heads with authority over staff and accountable to external bodies has stifled several attempts to develop participative models on management. The formal position is that heads alone are responsible for the organization and management of schools. This consideration has acted as a brake on some heads that wish to share their power and as a convenient justification for those reluctant to share power. In large schools, there is a need for sub-units like committees in order for staff to have formal representation on decision-making bodies, and there is the assumption that staff has formal representation on such bodies. Research was conducted by different researchers at different schools in Kogi state, where the principal was committed in collegiality and introduced several participative elements, Several collegial features were found in the school. Staff had ample formal representation within the decision-making structure and decisions were usually reached by consensus. Despite his good intentions, the principal recognized that the school was not collegial.

2.4.3 Advantages of collegiality

There are three main advantages of collegiality:

• The evidence that teachers wish to participate more fully in the management of their schools. T

• The quality of decision-making is likely to be better when staff
participates in the process as it increases the experience and expertise brought in to solve the


• Staff participation is important as it usually has the responsibility of implementing any changes.

Collegiality does not require confrontation or conforming behaviours, but allows for open discussion and consensus. It employs personal power, not positional power. Positional power is temporally set aside, since the group member communicates and co-operates in the spirit of caring for one another and the vision of the organization. It changes interaction from those that arouse distrust and disrespect to those that are based on mutual trust, support and feeling of personal worth. With collaboration, people do not try to defeat one another and the organisation, but work with colleagues towards success.

2.4.4 Limitations of collegiality: The main limitations of collegiality are:

• It is so normative, it hides reality.

• Decision-making is slow and cumbersome. Meetings are often lengthy with issues often ending unresolved. Time and patience needs to be invested, and this is usually after hours when staff is tired as noted

• There is no guarantee of unanimity of outcomes after participation and debate. It is unrealistic to assume that consensus can be reached as the model undermines the significance of conflict.

• Tension that exists between different styles of management, as positional authority often surpasses the authority of expertise in reality.

• The accountability of leaders to external bodies or councils often leads to conflict as it is difficult to defend policies that have emerged but do not
enjoy the support of the leader, and difficult to establish who is responsible for policy. There is also the possibility of conflict between internal and external bodies.

• Staff participation needs to be an adequate level for collegiality to be effective. When staff attitudes are not supportive, it will fail.

.• The heads play a vital role and collegiality depends ultimately on them. If they so choose, they can limit the scope of collegiality as diminishing their power, and perhaps ultimately their identity). The quality of management depends on personal and professional qualities of those that lead and manage .

2.4.5 Collegial relationship

The building of effective teams is a major responsibility of the other senior staff. Effective teams are necessary for the continued growth, development and day-to-day management of an organization. The School Management Team (SMT) should create the environment where people feel they want to give extra discretionary effort. The school needs to develop a sense of identity. The sense of direction, belonging and identity are central to every team and participants enter a group with many highly developed perspectives and talents. Through collegiality, the team learns how to respect, appreciate and foster the individual identities of group members. Building a collegial group composed of diverse talents and perspectives which require a special sensitivity to each person feel like a value and appreciated contributor. The group should develop a sense of mutual and share responsibility. Team members cannot work towards a desired outcome until they have formed a sense of team spirit and learned to trust and support one another .The trust is the foundation upon which school effectiveness is built. An effective work culture cannot develop unless trust exists within the organization. Trust allows a rich culture to develop, and allows individuals to achieve their full potential. Trust develops as people expose themselves, share and take risks together. Trust tends to reduce fear of dependency on others and eliminates the potentially negative effects of conflicts. The trust is also
fundamental cement that bonds an organization together, facilitating good communication rectifying badly timed actions, making goal attainment possible and creating the conditions for organizational success. Effective collegial relations develop within the organization only when all levels within an organization have opportunities to come together at the beginning of the project. The principal is expected to ensure that a collegial relation prevails within the school.

2.4.6 Collaboration power sharing:

According to Dludla (2001: 27), collaborative power arises as staff members learn to make most of their collective capacity to run the day-to-day affairs of their school and solve problems. If teachers are involved in the running of the school, they are challenged in a number of ways, such as learning new ways of doing things and even values and attitudes. Lack of involvement results in fear and uncertainty which induce reluctance to change even if the fruits of change may be somehow desired. Collaborative power is of utmost significance if the school must succeed. He further comments that this form of power is unlimited because it enhances the productivity of the school on behalf of the students. His other view is that whereas top-down leadership may have a role in managing a school, a principal as collaborative leader has to find the right balance between the top-down and bottom-up so that the school meets it challenges. But participation and power sharing does not mean that a school needs to get together every time a decision is made. The main objective in participative decision-making is to reach consensus. Staff needs to be educated in the consensus-based management process. This education will corporate an understanding that each individual cannot unilaterally determine the solution to decisions but can contribute to consensus being reached. It would also need to develop an understanding that shared participation leads to shared responsibility. Principals need to know that the principal who shares power with teachers is still a leader. This principal is a more effective instructional leader because empowered teachers are more likely to maximize their potential.

2.4.7 Teacher empowerment: Good relations are essential for effective change and it is important that relations with teachers, who have the responsibility to implement these changes, Teachers need to have a sense of empowerment and need to be encouraged to participate in the changes. Empowering involves releasing the potential of individuals, allowing them to flourish and grow, to release their capacity for infinite improvement and teacher as a critical factor in student education. The conviction is that developing teachers as classroom instructors and giving them a greater voice in the decisions that affect the school will make teaching more effective. Teachers are empowered in a number of ways, one of which is staff development. Needless to say, for teachers to be successful educators during transformation, they need to undergo some kind of development and training.

2.4.8 Open information system

The effectiveness of communication between group and individuals is crucial in this regard and claims that under present day conditions, information has to be shared much more widely. In the context of the school, changes with regard to National and State policy documents, the school procedures, role and resource allocation are all aspects of change that need to be communicated to the necessary constituencies. This may be done through regular meetings, workshops, and rotation of policy documents to members of staff. These are important procedures to enhance open communication system where people can express their feelings freely. By working together in this way, the principles of transparency, accountability and trust are promoted.

In collegial group, flexible patterns of communication are used so that all members feel free to participate equally and at will. Minority opinions are encouraged and understood. Individuals know and understand one another, and are sensitive to each other’s ideas and reactions. There is a level of trust and mutual respect that results in members dealing candidly with one another without fear of harmful effects. Resistance to change flourishes where there is poor communication, little or no active participation and involvement in decisions and where tensions are allowed to simmer unchecked. To overcome such resistance, it is necessary
that there be open lines of communication participation and involvement of all stakeholders, an atmosphere of facilitation, support, negotiation and agreement.


According to Van der Bank (2007:150), participative decision-making does not mean that all staff members must participate in all decisions. There are two criteria, which could be used to determine which staff members should participate in which decisions. The first of these criteria is ‘relevancy’ and the second has to do with ‘expertise’. ‘Relevancy’-refers to the interest a specific person has concerning the problem and the subsequent decision. ‘Expertise’-refers to the extent to which participants to decision-making are qualified by means of training and experience.


There are nine steps in an effective participative decision-making process which comprised the following:

(i) Identify the problem

(ii) Clarify the problem

(iii) Analyze the cause

(iv) Search for alternative solutions

(v) Select alternatives

(vi) Plan for implementation

(vii) Clarify the contract

(viii) Develop an action plan

(ix) Provide evaluation and accountability


According to Nzimande (2001:06), the assumption that individuals have expectations about outcomes that may manifest as a result of what they do, underlies the expectancy theory. This means that individuals are regarded as thinking and reasoning beings that are to participate in future events, so as the teachers at school. This is the anticipation of the greater performance and the greater outcome. This is the strength of an individual’s preference for an outcome. If teachers are motivated through rewards, they may be good participators in decision-making at school. The guidelines on participative decision-making at schools are:

• .Participation is more appropriate when the principal does not possess enough

information to solve a problem.

• Participation of teachers is more appropriate when the nature and dimensions of

the problems are not clear.

• Participation is more appropriate when decisions are important and relevant to teacher.


• Groups provide a larger sum of knowledge than would be accessible to individual members, thus leading to informed decisions.

• Participation in decision-making increases the acceptance of decisions, which improves the motivation to implement the decision.

• Groups are willing to take greater risks than individuals, which leads to aggressive solutions to problems.


This research has indicated that participative decision-making results in a number of benefits for example:

• Increased decision quality

• Decision creativity

• Decision acceptance

• Decision understanding

• Decision judgment

• Participation results in teacher satisfaction with the profession of teaching.

• Teachers prefer principals who involve them in decisions-making.

• Teachers neither nor want to be involved in every decision-making; in fact too much involvement can be as detrimental as too little .



There are some problems that teachers face when they not involved in decision-making at school, namely:

• Behavior changes

• Psychological withdrawal

• Influence on mental health for example stress, burnout, etc.



In the olden days, it was deemed necessary to instruct the conquered people in the doctrines of the Homes, and transform them into loyal subjects. They began re-educating the native adults and providing instruction to the children and youth, indoctrinating and educating them in the rudiments of social life to use them to benefit the School. One piece of information that is never controversial in educational discourse is the pattern of initial recruitment into schools in Nigeria. Several studies: Wise (1956); Ikejiani, Hansen, Okeke & Anowi (196′;), Fafunwa (1979) and Taiwo (1981), for instance, show that in southern Nigerian, often the first pupils in the secondary schools were drawn from groups who were to some extent marginal or subordinate within the traditional status hierarchies. In Northern Nigeria, however there were numerous cases according to Hisket (1975) and Ibrahim (1979) where member of the traditional elite’s were the first to be recruited. The initial schools in northern Nigeria for instance were “Native administration” in the sense that they were supported from local kinds and were very much the concern of the ‘Native Authority’ “Indeed in northern Nigeria the emirs being the heads of the Native Authori ty bui l t these schools” (Wise 1956, p. 43) Ibrahim (1979) asser ts that in Kano State, the f ragmentary data that exist suggest that the students in governments schools at the initial period of western education in 1903 were disproportionately drawn from high socio-political elite’s of Kano citizens. Even within the immerse growth in educational opportunities that has occurred, it can be observed that the low socio-economic status people in northern Nigeria are still largely under represented within the upper reaches of northern educational system and attempts to increase proportional representation of lower status grouping conceived in terms of traditional
criteria of status have been only moderately successful. In gross terms, it is possible to point to variant patterns of response to the introduction of secondary education in the country. Unlike in southern Nigeria, where the most usual result of the introduction of secondary education is a process of status reserved, in northern Nigeria, the process of status reinforcement is assumed to ensure a guaranteed degree of continuity in the recruitment of dominant groups. Of course, concepts derived in terms of this may do injustice to empirical realities since in practice the emergent pattern of social differentiation in the less developed world represents a complex inter-weaving between traditional and emergent concepts of status. This theory may seven further be argued to be largely an academic exercise as the emergence of a modern type of urban centre has largely eroded the traditional criteria of status and authority in Africa. Influence of Commissions and Educational Laws on Secondary Education The early, schools functioned with scarcely any involvement by the colonial government and as such there were no reasonable attempts to co-ordinate education system organized by the various missions. In this regard, there was no novelty as such in educational practice, all missions owned common allegiance to Christianity and they operated curriculum centered on English, Religion, and Arithmetic commonly called 3Rs. This system however changed in early 1880s particularly by the Education Ordinance of 1882 when colonial government assumed a measure of control of mission education. Significant improvement was made when the Ordinance No. 3 of 1887 was enacted to consolidate and amend the laws relating to the promotion of education in the colony of Lagos. Concerning secondary education, in 1879 there were three secondary schools namely the CMS Grammar school, built in 1859. Wesleyan Boys High School built in 1976 and St. Gregory’s School 1879. The trend of the secondary school from 1897 to 1992 was a gradual increase in enrolment from 172 to 206. With the amalgamation of Southern and Northern Protectorates. Lord Lugard proposed three types of secondary education with the aim of adapting the needs of education of the children in both protectorates to the man-power needs. The schools are the provincial schools, the rural and the non-government schools. The provinces, and located three to four kilometers away from the residential areas under a British Headmaster. The Resident and the paramount chiefs in the areas where
these schools were located were to assist in the supervision of the schools. The entrants were between 12-14 years of age. The rural school were meant for rural children who ultimately would remain in rural environments The rural school policy was not accepted particularly by people in the Southern provinces and a grammar school “policy was not accepted particularly by people in the Southern provinces and a grammar school policy was favored initially in the main urban areas.




The purpose of this study is to investigate through the perceptions of staff, the extent to which teachers participate in decision-making at Government secondary schools Omala, and as necessary, to make practical recommendations as to whom in the management arrangements of the secondary schools may be modified or enhanced to promote teacher participation in decision-making more effectively.

4.1 Data analysis entails bringing order, structure and meaning to the mass of time consuming, creative and fascinating process. Analysis of data about individual interviews was done through identifying common themes from the respondents’ description of their experiences. Irrelevant information was separated from the relevant information in the interviews. The relevant information was broken into phrases or sentences, which reflect a single, specific thought. The phrases or sentences were further be grouped into categories that reflect various aspects of meanings. The various meanings identified will be used to develop description as seen by the respondents.

4.2 Analysis of quantitative information:

The researcher used descriptive statistics to analyse quantitative data.

Descriptive statistics is a mathematical technique for organizing, summarising and displaying a set of numerical data.


This Research serves as a mechanism to identify and evaluate management practices that are consistent with the current call for a participative mode of education management and governance. The research questions form the essentials and the value of this study. The structure of the research provides the reader with what to expect in the ensuing assignment. This research has reviewed about participative management and the transformation role of the principal. The approach described requires an involvement and commitment from staff in order to bring about effective change. Also suggests that a collegial model is difficult to implement even when staff is committed to it.

The school management functions remain dominantly in the hands of the principals and School Management Team (SMT). The extent of teacher involvement in management of the school is limited to the classroom. Principals do not motivate staff to be united. Team -work in schools is regarded as poor. Involving teachers in decision- making allows staff and management to work as a team. When teachers are involved in decision-making, they tend to own decisions, by ensuring the implementation of those decisions. A staff perception to the way in which participative management operates currently at Government secondary schools Omola is that teachers are not adequately involved in decision-making in schools. Teachers in this study accept the responsibility of becoming the role players in managerial decision-making.

CONCLUSIVELY, The principal should promote an atmosphere of trust by displaying fair treatment and proper management skills to the teachers. It is important for the principal to model attitude behaviour on the principles of democracy. Fair treatment of teachers is a prerequisite for building an atmosphere of trust

and accountability. In the climate of transformation, it becomes imperative for a principal

to display proper management skills so that his/her credibility as a leader is not brought

into disrepute.

Recommendations to teachers:

• Teachers should take positive steps to become partners in managing their schools

Teachers must not be complacent, but be active participants in terms of self – education and managing school affairs beyond the boundaries of the classroom. However, it becomes necessary for teachers to respect the positional power of the principal, which grants him / her authority to make certain decisions unilaterally. This requires involvement and commitment from staff in order to bring about effective change. Assess the principals’ understanding of their role


➢ Kogi Education Congress 1994. A Policy Framework for Education and Training

Education desk.Omala Town:Omala L.G.A. in promoting teacher participation in decision-making within these schools.

➢ Adeyinka, A.A. (1971): The development of grammar school education in the Westernstates of Nigeria 1908 – 1968. Unpublished M.Ed. Dissertation Submitted toUniversity of Ibadan. Ibadan

➢ Fafunwa, A. B. (1974): History of education in Nigeria. London. George Allen And Unwin Ltd. Federal Republic of Nigeria (1981). National Policy on
Education. Lagos: NERC.

➢ Ibrahim, Y.Y. (1979): Oral and socialization process: A socio-folkloric Perspective of initiation from childhood to adulthood Hausa Community. Unpublished Ph. D. Thesis submitted to Bayero University Kano.

➢ Ikojani, O. (Ed ): Nigerian education. Bristol; Western Printing Ltd. Taiwo. C.O. (1981): The Nigerian education system. Past Present and Future: France and London: Buller tanner Ltd.

➢ Wise, C.W (1956): History of education in British West Africa. Toronto: Longman Green & Co.

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