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Title: Coping with 'ethnic' conflict : an analysis of teacher responses in Kenya
Author: Datoo, Aqeela Amirali
ISNI:       0000 0004 2747 0555
Awarding Body: University of Oxford
Current Institution: University of Oxford
Date of Award: 2013
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During post-conflict reconstruction, various roles are bestowed on teachers to manage the effects of violence such as peace educator, conflict resolution expert, counsellor and so on. However, there are no empirical studies that examine what teachers actually do when faced with the challenges of post-conflict schooling. More importantly, most policies often neglect the fact that teachers are not necessarily neutral in conflict. Whilst being professionals, many are also political and social beings that come from the community they serve. Surely the tension between their personal beliefs and professional practice has some impact on how teachers deal with the effects of conflict. This research investigates how teachers, who maintain a reflexive relationship with their community, feel about transforming their role to manage the effects of ethnic conflict. The case of Kenya offers a suitable context in which to research this particular phenomenon because of its continuous association with conflict, consequent corrosion in ethnic relations, and increasing ethnic segregation in education systems. Employing a case study strategy, data was collected using semi-structured interviews and document analysis. The sample size consisted of twenty head teachers and seventy teachers and counsellors from government secondary schools in Nakuru and Kericho. Analysis of the data suggests that ethnic tensions have seeped into schools affecting not only peer relationships but also teacher-student interactions. These tensions and fears continue to impair teachers from actively participating in schools and assuming the role of managing the effects of the conflict. Aside from this, various other factors in their classroots realities shape the manner in which they deal with the effects of the conflict. Some of these factors include external support, professional capacity, their purpose and motivation as well as the school culture. This research concludes that teachers require adequate support and guidance from their head teacher in order to conceptualise their role in relation to managing the effects of violence. While the focus of external institutions is on relaying concepts of ‘peace’ and ‘conflict resolution’ to the students, there is merit in taking a more gradual approach and equipping teachers with the necessary skills and knowledge to teach these concepts. Moreover, teachers too require space to confront their own biases and prejudices towards other groups in order to assume these new roles. Finally, the creation of support networks is essential during post-conflict reconstruction as it ensures that teachers and students are provided with the necessary guidance, knowledge, and assistance in the absence of support from the state.
Supervisor: Johnson, David Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: Conflict ; Emergencies and humanitarian assistance ; Teaching and teacher education ; Comparative and international education ; Education ; Ethnic minorities and ethnicity ; Ethnic conflict ; Kenya ; teacher development