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This study involves a quantitative investigation on risk management practices and its relationship with transformational leadership and school culture. A quantitative study will be conducted at selected primary schools in Malaysia. The selection of the schools will be on random basis covering both urban and rural.
Survey will be conducted among school teachers. Basically two quantitative survey instruments will be used in order to collect data for the research: principal transformational leadership, school culture and risk management practices. Responses from individual teachers will be averaged based on each item and factor to create the school- wide data that needed for these study.
The findings from this study will contribute importance of knowledge in risk management and it' practices at schools. It provides guidance on skills required by school leader for effective risk management practices at schools. Risk management practice in school will create conducive learning environment and help government in saving worth millions of ringgit.
1.01 BACKGROUND OF STUDY
In Malaysia, every school has a legal responsibility to ensure the safety of pupils under the common law doctrine of in loco parentis. We failed to realize that school safety is one of the growing problems especially in primary school and in secondary school as well. The number and severity of accidents and incidents involving violence, gangterism and theft, vandalism, general student discipline and misconduct problems are increasing gradually. Widespread media coverage escalates these incidents to higher magnitude and takes public attentions (Tie Fatt Hee, 2004). Accidents, incidents, or transgressions are organizational and managerial problems, not always, as we tend to think, people problems (Dennis R.Dunklee, 2006).
Even it was proven in study done by Sabu (2005) and other researcher like Berliner, 1990; Henson & Eller, 1999, 1983; Othman, 2001 agree that conducive and safe environment for students still not achieved in most of the school in Malaysia . This statement can be supported by several recent incidents that shocked our nation. A newspaper (The Star, 14 February 2011) reports Saiful Syazani Saiful Sopfidee, 7 years old, died after been beaten by teacher for 2 hours. He died due to internal bleeding in his brain and severe injuries as a result of being beaten by teacher for two hours continuously. This incident clearly shows that students are exposed to risks at schools.
In the past, we have read reports of students who were injured during sports activities, co-curriculums and other freak accidents. All these accidents indicate lack of risk management practices in schools. Only an effective leader will be able to implement it in school efficiently. The tragedy in Georgetown, where a teacher and five students died when their dragon boats capsized, raised question on safety precautions and safety guidelines followed during school activities ( The Star, 2010 January, 19). In recent incident which took place on 11.11.11, whereby secondary school student's annual excursion to Kuala Lumpur ended with a tragedy, when a teacher and two students died in the accident. It was understood that all these students whom involved in this tragedy were after their recent PMR examination and in their course of visiting destinations ramble in the capital city Kuala Lumpur. Bus that they were travelling, lost control and skidded before turnover (Metro, 2011 November, 12). School authority may face legal suit if they're proven neglected risk mitigation measures in their planning and execution for this excursion to Kuala Lumpur.
Ministry of Education, Tan Sri Muhiyiddin Yassin noted that parents should be concerned about the safety of their children and hope there will be an appropriate security measure taken and proper preparation made before activities are being carried out. The Ministry of Education also reminds the school authorities especially teachers to comply with the safety instructions (The Star, 2010 January 20).
Every school should make aware on Health, Occupation and Safety Act 1994 and its implications to education sector. This act should be used as a guide at schools. According to Santrock (2001) every headmaster of school are responsible in establishing the safe and conducive learning environment in schools. It is more related to school and class size as well as home-school partnership. Therefore classrooms, where teaching and learning process takes place, need to be managed effectively and efficiently. Headmaster as manager of primary school is responsible to design the physical environment of the classroom for maximum learning. Problems need to be handled effectively to create positive environment that suitable for learning. Headmaster required establishing and maintaining rules and regulations by mean of effective communication. Headmaster also need to upkeep students development progress from time to time.
An organization may be damaged by cumulative effects of many small incidents or by spectacular (Alan E. Warin, 1998). Ministry of Education should take this into their consideration as this gives great impact on education development in Malaysia. Public or mainly parents will lose their trust on our education system and this will result decline in students and parents participation in school activities. Ministry of Education is to ensure headmasters equipped with relevant leadership skills to enable them effectively implement risk management practices at their schools since its existence become misty in every school. Organizational leadership and culture will interact with each other. Leaders usually create and reinforce norms and behaviour within the culture. A transformational leader wants to create a comfortable and accepting environment for the school. A transformational leader will foster strength to diminish the weaknesses. No school is perfect. An effective school leader will use transformational practices to gain support from their staffs and effort from their teachers to achieve the objectives and goals of the school system.
It was proven that every school that works closely with parents to develop and implementing school-based prevention programmes are more successful (Cross et al., 2004b); Dryfoos, 1990; Greenberg et al., 2003; Olweus, 1993; Scheckner et al., 2002). These forms of partnerships help schools to develop common culture, models, language, definitions and procedures (Greenberg et al., 2001). Effect of school leadership and organizational culture are variables associated with risk management in school. By deepening headmaster understanding of school culture, school manager will be better equipped to shape the values, beliefs and attitudes that necessary to promote a stable and nurturing learning environment. (Chuck Saufler, 2005). According to Schein (1985:2), leadership and culture can be compared as "two sides of the same coin". He came out with this opinion because usually leaders who build or form a culture will take care of culture. Success and failure of an excellent companies is because their leaders' fail to understand their organizational culture. If a leader fail to understand their organization culture, then it is difficult for them to become successful.
1.02 RISK MANAGEMENT PRACTICE IN SCHOOL
In recent years school administrators and teachers are facing lots of challenges in managing risk. They need to be prepared in handling emergency situation or any risks that may occur at school. But it become a tendency in many school is to temporize and downplay the significance of legal problems, seeking answers to such problem at the operational level rather than at the organizational level , and school often rely on legal counsel only after they gotten in trouble ( Dennis R. Dunklee and Robert J.Shoop,2006).
In order to promote a safe environment in schools, the Ministry of Education provides the guidelines and policies that are written in the form of circulars to schools as a reference and prevention measures to react when handling risk. With these guidelines and policies, the school should implement plans, rules and regulations of safety at school, including safety procedures and safety guidelines that need to be shared with all members at the school. Musa B. Mohamad (2002) in Ministry of Education Concept and Manual Safety School mention that the feeling of joy and full of love in school environment will increase student self-confident and also taking full attention towards education. School administrator and teachers also need to increase their awareness to create safe and healthy environment for students and all members.
Student safety is part of the responsibility of teachers and the relationship between teachers and students of imposing obligations on the care of teachers. The teacher needs to provide a reasonable degree of supervision to students according to age whereby younger students need higher supervision. Teachers who fail to give special scrutiny are liable to risk if anything to happen to students according to common law. Elementary school students have a greater incidence of injury and need more supervision from their teacher.
Teachers need to ensure safety at classroom, lab, school field and any other localities involve school activities. There are rules and regulations that were written on the School Notice Board, Students Guide Book and School Manuals. In the science lab, there are rules and regulations that must be obeyed and informed clearly to the students ( MoE 1975).
Teachers need to understand their role and ensure that they are providing their duties by taking care of students in the school. The practice of risk management has become an important part to realize and practice among teachers, schools, students and all the administrators' members at the school. The school and each other should provide institution secure environment for students, employees, teachers and others. Schools must be able to plan and carry out in response to the risk
1.03 TRANSFORMATIONAL LEADERSHIP
Currently there are numerous challenges to our schools headmasters due to the changing education environment, the trends of educations reforms and the pursuit of multiple school function in the new century. A clear shift can be seen from education quantity to education quality. Public are not satisfied only with the quantity of educational serviced provided in the new century. The pace of change confronting organizations today has resulted in calls for transformational leadership. These leaders work more effectively in rapidly changing environments by helping to make sense of the challenges confronted by both leaders and followers and then appropriately responding to those challenges (Bass ,2003).
Headmaster always encounters problem where need to transform low performing school to an acceptable performing level or from acceptable level to high performing level . At other hand, a headmaster also expected to move a school from crisis mode to high ground. To accomplish these needs, the transformational leader usually attempts to have a strong teacher's commitment towards the school.
With the recent education reform and restructuring, for example Education Development Master Plan (PIPP 2006 - 2010) with its six core agendas, more emphasis would have to be placed on commitment of the teaching workforce. This strategies and approaches is to fulfill need due to increase of external pressures on the work environment and to produce highly qualified and committed teacher in education sector (Chua Lee Chuan, 2005).
It was inspiring how 2004 excellent principal (JUSA C) Mary Yap Kain Ching transformed a wrecked school into a high performing and excellent school. But did she manage to motivate the whole school range from the teachers to the students to follow her vision? Another important question was why the whole school is committed to transform themselves from an ordinary school into the first 30 schools nationally entitled for cluster schools? According to Ishak Sin(2003) this is the character of a transformational leader.
Bass (1985) labelled the type of adaptive leadership described above as transformational leadership. Transformational leadership is one of the best in leadership style because it can change and transform individuals (Northouse, 1997). Transformational leadership occurs when one or more people engage with one another in way that leaders and their followers will push each other in order to achieve higher levels of motivation and morality (Burns, 1978). Main objective of developing transformational leaders is to make sure that they able to go beyond their potential followers (Lee, 2005). That is why, usually transformational leader try to develop and meet the needs of their followers so that they will have and reach organizational commitment (Rowden, 2000).
Transformational leaders in education are a person who always looking for new ways of doing things to achieve the school's vision. The main purpose of the school, of course, is to educate young people and make them become productive members of society. Leadership is needed to address the problems and challenges that faced by students and teachers in school. Usually headmaster has to take care of and lead their teachers and follower towards the achievement of certain aspiration (Barker, Wahler & Watson, 2008). But recent incident at Air Hitam primary schools clearly shows lack of transformational leadership skills when a headmaster and a teacher get into "kung fu" action witnessed by pupils and teachers ( Berita Harian, 28 Februari 2012).
Teachers and school administrators are the person who need to held accountable for the achievement of their school vision and fulfill its mission. A school is viewed worthless and meaningless if exist without vision and mission. This situation needs to be avoided at all courses. Transformational leader in a school will be able to forecast risk that may give impact on school. They are able to guide teachers on how to manage risk and be prepared for challenges at school. Followers able to handle risk effectively.
Othman (2001) has concluded that leadership is necessary to start and sustain school improvement. Leadership is not just about the quality of individual leaders but beyond that. It is also about the role of the leader plays, management style, and their relationship to the vision, values and aims of the school, and their approach in how to make changes. Transformational leadership has more to do with the charismatic visionary, culture and the concept of empowerment (Leithwood et al, 1999). This can actually lead to the success of the school organization especially where future leaders are formed. An effective leader will be able to form an effective school. Sergiovanni (1991) cited that it is impossible to find an effective school without an effective principal.
These leaders have the talent to put in the line of their organization's values â€‹â€‹and standards. They also able to build culture of the organization plan and implement changes within and without (Bass, 1985; Tichy & Ulrich, 1984). Basically, transformational leadership can be seen by follower as a leadership that can bring them satisfaction and improvement. Furthermore, an organization under transformational leadership shows a high level of performance. Even under transformational leadership, followers are known to carry out their duties more enthusiastic because they are proud of their leaders and organizations (Bass, 1990b).
Generally, transformational leaders are a leader who accomplished with characteristics and behavior of excellence. They can also be a role model to their followers, the ability to inspire subordinates, and the capabilities to boost intellectual members in the organization, and sympathetic Transformational leaders able to build strong working culture that exceed current levels by enhancing and strengthening the commitment and satisfaction of subordinates. In some experiments to test the results of transformational leadership, Bass (1990b) found that the level of effort by subordinates under the leadership was high, ranging between 75% and 82%. It is different in the organization led by transactional leaders where lower effort level can found which is between 58% and 60%. This indicates that transformational leadership is more effective and workers are more committed to their jobs.
1.04 SCHOOL CULTURE
School culture made of values, common practice, behavior, relationship and organization structure within a school that fuel the operation of a school and its behavior (DuFour & Eaker, 1998). It transforms over time as it creates synergy with problem solving, work together and confront challenges. School culture influences every member in school organization. It's the force driving all activities at school by unifying them by providing in-depth understanding, focused goal and team engagement.
The findings of this study attempt to contribute importance of knowledge regarding risk management and its practice at school. It will add literature on roles played by transformational leadership and school culture at primary schools in Malaysia. This will provide more in-depth understanding on skills required in shaping school management to mitigate risk at schools in Malaysia.