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EFFECTS OF STUDENTS’ UNREST IN HIGHER INSTITUTIONS

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EFFECTS OF STUDENTS’ UNREST IN HIGHER INSTITUTIONS

 

ABSTRACT

This research work viewed the effects of students’ unrest in higher institutions (a case study of Enugu State University of Science and Technology (ESUT), Enugu). It also scanned the collision on the education of Nigeria and suggested solution to the problem. To achieve these objectives, three (3) research questions were formulated. In the review of related literature, it treated the meaning, brief history, causes and effects of students’ unrest in Nigeria. It also treated the suggested strategies for managing conflicts in Nigeria tertiary institutions. It used a structured and closed-ended questionnaire, which was designed in the form of Four-Likert Scale ranging from Strongly Agree (SA) to Strongly Disagree (SD). The instrument was face validated by the project supervisor. The reliability of the instrument was determined to be 0.78 using Pearson Product Correlation Coefficient. This score showed that the questionnaire was reliable. It was reproduced and administered to three hundred and ninety-two (392) students of Enugu State University of Science and Technology. The data obtained from the questionnaires was presented and analyzed in tables. Based on the analysis, it was discovered that the major causes of students’ unrest in higher institutions were illegal and irrelevant fees being levied on the students, incessant increase in school fees and cultism. It was equally found out that students’ unrest had great effects on education as it disrupts the school calendar; leads to destruction of human and material resources; it adds great burden on parents/guardians due to additional cost. It was highly recommended that strong and trained security outfit be mounted in universities to forestall future outbreak of students unrest; the appointment of vice chancellors should be based on leadership quality alone and administrative expertise. Also, suggestions for further research were made by the researchers.

 

CHAPTER ONE

INTRODUCTION

Background of the Study

Higher institution is the institution which one attends to after his secondary school education. It is the apex form of education where one chooses his career. Olaitan (2004) stated that in Nigeria, it comprises of universities, polytechnics and colleges of education. Among these three, the university education remains the apex form of education of all the tertiary institutions. Aguba (2006) stated that the origin of tertiary institution in Nigeria can be dated back to 1932 when University College Ibadan and University of Nigeria Nsukka were established as pivot universities and they were sources of pride to the students and the entire country due to the standards and respect enjoyed by its students. Then, there were free academic sessions, no strike, no protest, no demonstration and others of its kind.

The standards started depreciating from 1944, which marked the first students protest in Nigeria by the students of King’s College Ikeja, Lagos who protested against the British authorities’ plan of using the college as a base to house the West African Frontier Force raised in their West African colonies to help in the Second World War. The leaders of the protest were Late Chief Col. Chukwuemeka Odunegwu Ojukwu (rtd), Late Chief A. Y. Eke, Late Chief Olu Akinfosile and Late Chief Victor Orie-Whitey.

The situation turned bloody in 1953 when the secret cult was originated by Professor Wole Soyinka named Pyrates Confraternity, which was called the Magnificent Seven at the University College Ibadan (UCI) now called Obafemi Awolowo University, Ile-Ife with the aims of abolishing convention, reviving the age of chivalry, ending tribalism and elitism, and exposing the absurdity of the colonial mentality in the post independent students.

The situation is worst in this 21st century where there are frequent cases of students’ unrest which have been a virus in the educational system of Nigeria. Adebayor (2008) stated that the period of child in higher institution is the period when there is hypertension and hyperactivity in the family. One cannot spend the original approved duration for a course, instead of four years, a year or two are added.

Cambridge International Dictionary of England (2005) stated the meaning of student’s unrest to be the disagreements or fighting between different groups of students. It also defined students’ unrest as a state of disturbance in which students as angry or violet behaviour by the students who are protesting against something. Hornby (1996) defined students’ unrest as a state of disturbance in which students are angry or dissatisfied and are likely to protest or fight. There are five terms which educational scholars used to refer to students’ unrest which are students’ protest, students’ rampage, students’ violence and students’ cultism. The causes of students’ unrest have seen attributed to many factors but the educational scholars have viewed the causes from different angles.

Okeen (1997) decided to approach the problem from several dimensions. He stated that it has international, the national/social dimension, and the specific institutional and individual level. Yalokwu (1992) stated that the causes of students unrest are; religious intolerance, unemployment of graduates of institutions, rural killing(s) of students, inadequate home training by parents, lack of inadequate infrastructures and facilities in educational institutional, inadequate vehicle for transportation of students, breakdown in communications between the authorities and students, students academic stress, too much failures in courses offered by students, banning of students union activities within the campus, inadequate health facilities for students, connivance of staff of institution to achieve their goal(s), selective victimization of staff and students of institution, interference of government in institution affairs, introduction of obnoxious economic, political and other policies, and international issues. Some other scholars have stated that socio-personal, educational and vocational pressures on students, cultism, rigid rules, inadequate infrastructure, communications gap, individual’s indiscipline, students’ politics, students’ intimidation by staff and students of the institution, external influence and family influences are some of the factors that cause students’ unrest in Nigeria.

The students’ unrest has caused more harm to our educational system (Akagu, 1995). It has also contributed to non-recognition of some Nigerian higher institutions certificates across the globe, building vandalism, armed robbery, raping, and other criminal activities. Therefore, to make Nigeria better, the researchers sought to find out the effect of students unrest in higher institutions and possibly proffer or suggest solution since this student’s unrest was not part and parcel of the early higher institution education in Nigeria.

Statement of the Problem

Students’ rioting has done untold damage and hardship to the students themselves, the institutions concerned, the parents and the public in general. On September 29, 2011, the Federal Radio Corporation of Nigeria (FRCN) reported a killing of a several cultists who were believed to be members of Green-Landers by a cult group known as Blue-Landers in Yenegoa, Bayelsa State. The incidence is so high and alarming that the educationalists have been compelled to investigate its root causes. It touches on nearly all the critical nerve centre of the very existing of our society. It raises fundamental questions regarding the structure and organization of our society.

The students’ unrest usually lead to mass destruction of school and staff properties, sustenance of serious injuries and in extreme cases loss of lives, thus bringing untold hardship and misery to parents and guardians. Many commissions, laws and order have been set up and made in order to address the causes of this unrest, but unfortunately none of them had yielded a positive result, thereby making this topic to be a very crucial and national educational problem. Since the problem is crucial, it is necessary to try to find out the root effects of students’ unrest and make suggestions for possible solutions.

Scope of the Study

Due to financial involvement and proximity, the scope of the study is limited to all the tertiary institution in Enugu state, but particularly, Enugu State University of Science and Technology (ESUT), Agbani, Enugu State. The choice of ESUT is because it is a University of Science and Technology and to be able to take care as sample of all universities, colleges of education, and colleges of technology in the state.

Purposes of the Study

The study specifically intended to determine:

1. The causes of students’ unrest in Enugu State University of Science and Technology (ESUT) Agbani, Enugu State.

2. The effects of students’ unrest in ESUT.

3. The preventive measures to be taken against the occurrences of students’ unrest in ESUT.

Significance of the Study

The study will be of great benefit to the society for it has been long that the government and school authorities are trying to solve this problem. The findings of this study will be of paramount interest to the government in that it will help them to address the problem, enact laws and give orders to the institution concerned and know the needs of the students and the institutions, and possibly provide some if not all of them.

On the part of the university authorities, the research will help them in knowing the problem areas and checking the administrative role of the institution. It will also enable them to tackle the problem at hand instead of allowing the problem to worsen or degenerate into uncontrolled state.

It will also enable other kinds of institutions such as financial institution, military institutions, business institutions, communication institution, etc on the issue of knowing the problem areas, checking the welfare of staff and the administrative structure of the institution and managing the crises incase it arises.

Moreover, this study will be of great benefit to other researchers who are carrying out research on related issues to this project work. Infact, the researchers and the general public will acquire knowledge from this research work.

Research Questions

The following research questions guided the study:

1. To what extent are the causes of students’ unrest in ESUT?

2. To what extent are the effects of students’ unrest in ESUT?

3. To what extent are the preventive measures to reduce or stop the occurrence of students’ unrest in ESUT?

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