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Dialogue better than confrontation in students – authorities conflict – Prof

Disagreement between students and management of tertiary institutions is best managed through dialogue, a professor and electoral manager has said, discouraging confrontation.

The don, Francis Ezeonu, who is also the resident electoral commissioner for Imo State, spoke on Wednesday at the second annual conference of the Association Deans of Students’ Affairs, which held the Nnamdi Azikiwe University.

He said the best approach to conflict management is dialogue, which prevents crisis ‘from getting out of hands’.

Mr Ezeonu gave the keynote address at the conference themed Sustainable Peace-Building and Crisis Management on Campuses. The theme, the president of the association, Stanley Ezeonu, said, was in line with the second Global Summit of Student Affairs and Services, which took place in Rome, in October 2014. That conference, Mr Ezeonu added, challenged the deans of students’ affairs to enter into partnerships with student NGOs and other University administrators with a view to achieving sustainable peace in higher institutions.

The keynote speaker, Mr Ezeonu highlighted the sources of conflict in tertiary institutions, namely poor funding, the problem of access, poor management, poor infrastructure, poor welfare among others.

On how to mitigate conflict and sustain peace, he asked the government to improve funding for schools, ensure proper consultation with stakeholders in evolving policies, encourage private partnership in running of institutions. On the other hand, he said the management has greater roles to play, including friendly management of conflict situation, facilitating conflict transformation, avoid conflict suppression, transparency and accountability.

The conference had in attendance 26 DSAs from various schools.

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