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Bureaucracy in Education

Generally people equate bureaucracy with unexplained delays and general frustration, red-tapism, pettiness and silly rules that seem to create barriers and prevent the work of common sense (Kramer, 1977) To the ordinary man a bureaucracy organization connotes an inefficient organization characterized by a complicated and slow routine procedure and endless buck passing. And to its critics, bureaucracy is typically conceived as a despotic autocracy of evil servants. It must be stated that these notions of bureaucracy are completely remote from what it is intended to be.

Stoup (1996) sees bureaucracy as a large-scale organization with a complex but definite social function, consisting of specialized personnel and is guided by a system of rules and procedures. In addition, a carefully contrived hierarchy of authority exist by which the social functions of bureaucracy are carried out impersonally.

The term "bureaucracy" has its origin in the writings of the famous German sociologist, Max Werber, who described it as an "ideal type" organizational structure. This means it is an abstract or theoretical entity unlikely to be attained in reality. To Weber, bureaucracy is a hypothetically rational, disciplined, precise, stable, reliable and effective organization.

Division of Labour and Specialization, the tasks in bureaucratic organizations are distributed among the various positions as official duties. Such tasks or official duties are fixed. This concept implies a clear cut division of labour among positions. Division of labour leads to a high degree of specialization. Specialization in turn promotes expertise among the staff also enables the organization to hire employees on the basis of their technical qualifications. Efficiency increases as a result of division of labour.

In first cycle schools, teachers are assigned to various classes, just like vehicles on an assembly line in a mass production factory, pupils move from class to class or stage to stage to be handled by teachers. In second cycle institutions, however teachers are assigned subjects which they teach in the various classes or levels as subject teaching is practiced at the second cycle institutions. Instead of one tutor/master teaching all subjects at all levels, the tutors handle only a subject while others do the same at various levels. This enhances expertise of the teaching staff.

A formally established system of rules and regulations govern official decisions and actions. In principle the operations of such administrative organizations involve the application of these general regulations to peculiar cases. The regulations ensure uniformity of operations, and together with authority structures, make possible the coordination of the various activities.

By Nedved

Content created and supplied by: Nedved (via Opera News )

German Max Werber Stoup


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