Challenges Faced by School Professionals to Promote Social Cohesion in Malaysia
This paper explores school professionals’ experience in promoting social cohesion. School professionals are principals, teachers and counsellors. The study utilised Ecological System theory to explore types of challenges faced by school professionals to promote social cohesion. This study defines social cohesion as a stage for developing unity among multi-ethnic nation. The case study research design was used to gather data Results indicate that challenges faced by school professionals exist in the micro-sytem and macro-system layers with special characteristics and elements. This study employed a case study research designed to explore in-depth understanding of ethnic relation at the school levels. The data was gathered from interviews with 13 school professionals from two national secondary schools. The participants consisted of principals (n=2), vice-principal (n=1), counsellors (n=2), class teachers (n=3), discipline teachers (n=2), and physical education teachers (n=3). Data gathered was analysed using thematic analysis (NVivo software). Results from the current study revealed that challenges faced by teachers are revolving around issues of prejudice, polarisation and negative perception towards others. Whereas, the following issues were found to be core challenges for promoting social cohesion in the macro-system layer: transition and adaptation process. The current study also found that are many programmes to integrate multi-ethnic pupils at a school level. However, there is no specific evidence to measure the effectiveness of the programme held at the school level. In addition, many one-off programmes were organised for promoting social cohesion. Results also demonstrated that vernacular school system seems to be a hindrance for promoting social cohesion.
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