With Joke Adeniyi-Jackson
What could have resulted in a bloody clash among students of public secondary schools in Adewole area of Ilorin, Kwara State capital, was averted yesterday. Residents of the area scampered for safety and shop owners hurriedly locked shops when the students engaged in reckless display of violence. Students who were identified by their uniforms to be from Government High School, Adeta and Government Day Secondary School, Adeta, armed with broken bottles , stones and sticks launched attack on their contemporaries in Government Day Secondary School, Adewole. The situation was however saved by the prompt intervention of officers of Nigeria the Prisons Service and staff of the school. It was learnt that the onslaught is a reprisal attack, coming on the heels of an earlier episode of violence by the misguided students.
This development has highlighted the growing culture of violence vis-a-vis the level of moral decadence among students in the state. Indiscipline such as truancy, loitering, absentism, shabby dressing, gangsterism, sex scandals, is rearing its ugly heads in our public educational institutions. Still fresh in our memories is the recent attempted gang rape of a fellow female student, by students of Government Day Secondary School, Gaa-Akanbi. As observed the problem of indiscipline among students is rampant in schools located in the indigenous part of the state capital.
It is saddening that the school, is fast becoming breeding grounds for gangsters rather than well-groomed individuals. This, cannot be divorced from peer pressure/influence.
It is also disheartening that respect for teachers and constituted authority as well as regard for rules and regulation among secondary school students, has taken a backseat. Anti-social behaviours have become the order of the day in public schools. Though the situation in the school can be said to be a reflection of the larger society where indiscipline reigns supreme.
There is, however, the urgent need to address this issue to ensure that students are as disciplined as much as possible if they are to be good leaders of tomorrow. Unfortunately, there are parents who don’t want their children to be punished for unruly behaviours. There have been instances when parents go to schools to challenge teachers for meting out punishment to the children and wards over misconduct.
Nevertheless, the state government in its dogged pursuit of excellence in character moulding and academic brilliance among students, must not relent in its various reforms until violence is completely rooted out of public schools.
The Governor Abdulfattah Ahmed-led administration, should endeavor to stem this ugly tide in the education sector. It must not rest on its oars until the last instance of anti-social behaviour is stamped out.
Subject that teaches morals should be incorporated into the school curriculum.
Students must be taught the value of life and friendship. They must be made to understand that gangsterism, rape, indiscipline and other anti-social behaviours are criminal offences and made to realise the grave consequence.
Seminars and campaigns within the school premises must be organised for enlightenment on disciplinary issues.
Students caught breaking school rules must be suspended while those who are perpetual offenders should be expelled. Such stringent measures are necessary to curb student unrest and violence, among other social vices.
The task of bringing back sanity to government owned secondary schools in particular lie in the hands of all stakeholders in the education sector- teachers, parents, community, tradition and religious leaders.
Society should not turn blind eye to this unwholesome development, but play a role in guiding these students to the right path. Without proper guidance and direction, the students may get involved in unhealthy activities.
Like the saying that charity begins at home, parents have a major role to play to curb indiscipline in our public schools. First of all, they are expected to be good role models to their children by being exemplary in conduct and character. The moral upbringing of their children should not be left to the school. No doubt schools are supposed to train the students, but without proper home training not much can be accomplished by teachers. Also, parents need to cooperate with school authorities to enforce discipline as well as take seriously reports of misdemeanours by their children before the situation goes beyond control. Besides these measures, parents should also play a role to educate their children on the value of life and the importance of education.
One cannot shun the effect of social media on teenagers, therefore the school as well as parents should put up measures to control unfettered information that gets to them.