|dc.description.abstract||Violent conflicts related to tribal-political differences have characterised the Kenyan
society since the declaration of multi-party democracy in 1991. The 2007/8 post-election
violence (PEV) in particular resulted in the displacement of many Kenyans.
Scattering of families saw some children losing months or years of schooling with
others permanently excluded from education, while the participation and
achievement of those arriving in school was characterised by complex needs and
This PhD study explored pupil and teacher perceptions of the learning and
development needs of conflict-affected children in one primary school in Kenya. In
particular, this study sought to understand how school leadership practice was
developed and leadership roles negotiated, in order to meet pupils’ needs and
develop an inclusive ethos. The study addressed the connection between leadership,
inclusion and post-conflict education.
A single intrinsic case study with aspects of ethnography was undertaken adopting an
interpretive approach. Sixteen pupils (9–12 year-olds) shared their views of their
learning and development needs through two activities. The headteacher, deputy,
senior teacher and six teachers were interviewed (n=9) and asked to reflect on the
challenges they experienced in addressing pupils’ needs. Their perceptions of the
roles for school leadership were sought, and observations of their everyday practices
were conducted in classrooms, assemblies and school ceremonies. Data from these
interviews, observations, texts-on-walls, and pupils’ activities were thematically
The participants identified the following as pupils’ learning and development needs:
access to, acceptance in, and predictability of their new school; ‘peer-connectedness’,
social development, and social inclusion. Children emerged as active agents in their
own education, combating adversity through supportive peer relationships.
Eurocentric and African perspectives on leadership, and Davies’ (2004) work on
education and post-conflict reconstruction were particularly useful in making-sense
of how leadership unfolded in practice. Three areas of educational reconstruction in
particular were identified as significantly underpinning leadership roles: i)
reconstruction of leadership structures allowed shared leadership which facilitated
the meeting of pupils’ needs at different levels; ii) reconstruction of relationships
targeted repairing children’s emotional, social and moral distortion, and iii)
reconstruction of learning cultures encouraged collaborative learning initiatives that
improved academic standards.
The study found that the connection between school leadership and inclusion in post-conflict
schools can be understood along three themes. The first is ‘post-conflict
conflict’. I have used this term to reflect that the cessation of overt tribal violence,
coupled with movement of pupils into this new settlement ushered in a new phase of
conflict for pupils, teachers, schools and their communities. Schooling was
characterised by poverty, fragmented/mobile families, distorted social values
associated with post-election atrocities, alongside, structural barriers linked to
government and sponsor-related needs. Second, ‘connectedness’: while societal
fragmentation produced divisions, fear and suspicion of ‘others’, reversing the
situation required school leadership to foster social connectedness. Finally,
‘Africanised school leadership’: fostering connectedness required enlisting
communal responsibility and mutuality in undertaking emerging roles, thus,
employing aspects of local indigenous heritage.
The study contributes to knowledge in the emerging field of educational leadership
in post-conflict settings (Clarke and O’Donoghue, 2013) whilst addressing the less
investigated connection between teachers, leadership and inclusive education
(Edmund and Macmillan, 2010), particularly in post-conflict circumstances. The
research is timely in informing leadership programs that the government of Kenya is
advancing e.g. in decentralising decision-making (MOE, 2012b/c) and, re-alignment
to its obligations in the IDP Protocol of the Great Lakes Pact (Kigozi, 2014).
Recommendations are made for policy, practice and further research.
The conclusion to my study argues for a reconceptualisation of school leadership
practice beyond single-leader paradigms, whilst revisiting prioritisation of roles for
school leadership, especially, towards fostering inclusiveness in the conflict-prone
|dc.relation.hasversion||Gongera, E., Wanjiru, J.J and Okoth, O.N. (2013). Analysis of the Impediments Influencing the Management of Special Needs Education in Inclusive Settings in Primary Schools in Embu County, Kenya. Journal of Education and Practice, Vol. 4 (4) <http://www.iiste.org/Journals/index.php/JEP/article/view/4524>||en