2019 Volume 28 Issue 1 Pages 71-84
This study aimed at revealing from the viewpoint of conviviality how fragile households and marginalized geographic communities in Ghana can reorganize their school communities. The study adopted the concept of conviviality, which Nyamnjoh (2016) asserted as a technique which people in diverse background use to avoid conflicts through dialogues in African society. The study employed a qualitative case study of two public basic schools in rural areas in the Akatsi South District. In developing countries, the commonality of constituents between geographical and school communities are dissolving and fragile households tend to be left behind in marginalized geographical communities, resulting in educational and regional disparities. Previous literature on community participation in school management have revealed various challenges such as conflicts, differentiations, and alienations among school-level stakeholders. Thus, this study aims at answering a research question how conviviality will work for reorganizing school communities.
Ghana is one of early attempts in participatory school management in Africa, establishing the School Management Committees (SMC) in 1995. The author chose Ghana as a field of the study because Ghana has lessons learnt in this field over two decades and can share its experiences with neighboring countries. In September 2017 and September 2018, the author conducted semi-structured individual and focused group interviews with headteachers, teachers, and SMC executive members, and reviewed the minutes of the past SMC meetings. The results showed that two schools had clear differences in a way that their school communities avoided conflicts over the students' discipline, the chieftaincy issue, and the headteacher's working attitude and use of PTA levies. With conviviality, empowerment within school communities has been observed while lack of conviviality made conflicts, indifference, or lack of commitment within school communities unsolved. This study made its contribution to describing in details the characteristics of conviviality in the field of community participation in school management.