FACTORS AFFECTING STUDENT LATENESS TO SCHOOL IN SECONDARY SCHOOL
Background of the study
Punctuality is said to be the soul of business, and there can be nothing more fundamental to the school business than punctuality (Ezewu, 1982). Thus punctuality could be seen in two dimensions that is coming to the school at the right time and closing at the right time. This attitude of punctuality is both the business of the teachers and students. Teachers cannot work without students likewise visa-versa. Students’ punctuality avail them the opportunity to attend to all school programmes and activities. In the morning for instance the students benefit from the morning activities such as the general assembly, where vital information, admonitions and prayers are made. The students could also interact with students other than their classmate and even arm. Most importantly students who are punctual get full benefits of morning hour lessons, which are vital (English and Mathematics) for these subjects are fixed during morning hours due to their importance. On the contrary, unpunctual (late-comers) students are caned, given corporal punishment such as toilet washing, sweeping, weeding and lot more. These punishments have dual effects on the students, thus afflicting pains and waste of time (non attending vital period of the morning hours). In addition, late comers usually get mis-informed during lessons, for they come to class while lessons have already began, they also disturb other students already in class and many at times disrupt lessons. School as a system operates in interconnection and interrelatedness within and also with the community (the home). In the school there exist division of responsibilities/duties among the staff and to some extent the students. Maina and Jumare (2011) postulate that the principal is responsible for school programmes and activities which cover planning, organizing, controlling, coordinating and evaluating the. This implies that the principal delegates authority/responsibility to all staff, hitherto, the staff report back to him or her for evaluation. In the school system, discipline and duty masters are responsible for making sure school programmes and activities went on as planned (Kachchar, 2002). On a general note, the principal and all stakeholders in the school are responsible for not only punishing late comers but also for developing a strategy for curbing the meanness of students’ late coming to school. On the other hand, parents are also stakeholders in making the success or otherwise of their children. On students late coming parents most work hand-in-hand with school managers to curb the menace of students’ late-coming to school. In other words, parents must take their responsibilities properly in making sure that students are given all they need to go to school, allowed or conveyed in time, prepared in time and be given transport money enough to and from the school. Unless these issues are taken seriously, all the efforts of teachers in school would be in vain. On the part of the government, more schools ought to be built (increased) as the population increases. Otherwise students would be left to trek per distances from home-school five-ten kilometers. Umaru (1991) observes that majority of schools in rural areas were not properly located, thus results to denial of access to a group of children. This also reduces students’ attendance to schools.
This trend is more among girls of all these possible reasons. Students are always blamed for late coming to school. Ezewu (1982) observed that late comers in most schools are either sent back home, given some piece of work to do or given some stroke of cane without regards to the reasons for their late-coming. He advised teachers and school managers to as a matter of fact investigate reason(s) for students late coming to schools as this may help to reduce the problem and treat them with sympathy. Education as a system is bedeviled with surmountable problems. These problems range from government (the policy maker), parents (owners of client), society (the recipient of the school product) and teachers (the executors of the curriculum and workers in the teaching industry). One might not be wronged, when he says all the above could be blamed in one way or the other on the nature of responsibility shouldered. Thus in a general overview, these problems culminate to what is referred to as falling standard of education, of cause how can a student pass examination while trekking several kilometers to school, do some home work (like fetch water, go to farm, wash clothes, hawk, open shop etc) before going to school every morning and or before afternoon classes. But in some towns, traffic hold students up for hours before and after school hours due to inadequate roads and neighborhood schools. On this part only this could be a reason for mass failure in almost all national examination like WAEC and NECO year in year out.
One of the critical issues the present society is battling with is the high rate of social indiscipline among its teeming youths. Education is therefore placed in high esteem to channel its resources to address the ugly situation. No doubt, education is regarded as an instrument “par excellence” for affecting national development (NPE, 2004). The school system is viewed as an avenue for the socio-transformation of people’s life and imparting of knowledge, skills, values and attitudes that would enable the recipients to be a useful and responsible member of a society. Within this framework, societal values are set for every members to align with so also, is the school regulations to guide the conduct of teachers and students’ alike alongside their duties and obligations.
School indiscipline is a multifaceted phenomenon regarding its displays and causes, as well as its meanings and functions in the school, psychosocial and pedagogical fields. Discipline is a prerequisite to almost everything a school does to its students (Amado and Freire, 2009). It is seen as part of the socialization process and as such, a source of concern among educators and parents which is increasingly gaining attention worldwide. It takes different forms depending on the society but the most common ones are displayed through respect, laziness, self-esteem and immaturity among others.
Indiscipline is a behavioural disorder that is classified as an act of delinquency. Just like, lying, stealing and playing truant or running away from home. It often causes a lot of mental, emotional, intellectual and psychical damage to the victim or properties around either in homes or schools. An undisciplined child is an uncontrollable child and can do just about any damage when he or she does not get whatever he or she wants.
Indiscipline does not restrict itself to education alone, it permits all facets of human life. Research studies have shown that indiscipline seems to be worse with children of big, heavy; powerful and seemingly religious parents. It is disappointly normal to see students roam the streets freely nowadays in their school uniforms. There is little or no respect for teachers anymore. On a general note, it connotes the violations of school rules and regulations capable of obstructing the smooth and orderly functioning of the school system.
The Longman English Dictionary by A. W. Frisby defines lateness as after the proper time according to the world book dictionary by C. L. and R. K. Barahat “lateness is defined as happening, coming or developing after the usual or proper time. It goes further to define a latecomer as a person or group of people that arrive late. The nuttal dictionary of English synonym and antonyms defines lateness as delayed slow, tardy and overdue, behind. This be expressed briefly and clearly the oxford advanced learners dictionary defines lateness as being after the usual right fixed or expected time. In the research lateness in the school environment means delay in getting to school by students, teachers or any other administrative staffs. This is due to a factor or combustion of factors and can result into less time in subject period and general activities in the first hours of the day. When a child is punctual he has the opportunity or advantages of beginning the days work with the teacher and his class mates.
A teacher who goes to his store late suffers the loss of morning sales while the farmer suffers the penalty of working under the sun, we find from these points that lateness is all its ramification does not favour any class or group of people especially in the school where you have limited time to be spent on each subject slated for the day. There is little or nothing to gain from lateness but punctuality has so many attributes such as setting up a standard for people to emulate. I know it is not an easy task to comply with but it is of great importance. It is commonly said that punctuality is the soul (root) of good business. What is worth doing is worth doing well.
Most schools in the past were voluntary agency schools. As at then, there was high degree of discipline in school. There was harmony as principals, teachers and students demonstrated awareness of their responsibilities in the school. Moreso, parents and teachers shared the same view of students’ desirable behaviours. The quality of school system as regards to discipline was very high up till the end of Nigerian civil war in January 1970.
After the civil war, things began to change. All forms of indiscipline were manifested by the students. Indiscipline is negative form of discipline, Zubaidia (2009) citing Dare, Hashim, Sweinan and Ofie (2004) defined discipline in schools as respect for school laws and regulations and the maintenance of an established standard of behaviour and implies self-control, restraint, respect for oneself and others. A behaviour that contradicts the above becomes indiscipline. According to Tunor (2002), if students cultivate the habit of discipline in schools, there will be a smooth running in the school system but reverse will be the case if students are not discipline. Zubaida (2009) identifies various forms of indiscipline among the secondary school students such as truancy, lateness to school, cultism, drug abuse, insulting/assaulting, stealing, rioting, and many other anti- social vices. According to Zubaida (2009) and Eyinade (1999), a number of these acts of indiscipline were directed against constituted authorities and established rules. An example of this is refusal to wear the right school uniform and going out of bounds without permission. The respect which teachers command among students had been seriously worn-off. And some teachers have not done much to help the situation by their actions. This problem has turned to a national issue.
Students’ indiscipline is a menace that has been hunting the educational system in Nigeria over the years. It is considered a national concern that its threat to school effectiveness is becoming more serious by the day. Infact, all the education stakeholders across the country are concerned with the issue of discipline-related problems in schools because of its visible impediment to national growth and development (Yaroson, 2004). Indiscipline, a derivative of the word from discipline is, according to the Chambers, (2000), a mode of life in accordance with rules; subjection to control.
In summary, a school exists for the purpose of teaching and learning. All else that should happen in it must subserve and be seen to lead to the attainment of the objectives of teaching and learning. Indeed the effectiveness of a school is determined by the extent to which it achieves the operational objectives and this in turn depends on the amount and quality of teaching and learning that goes on in the school, and determined by the level of students discipline that exist in the school. According to OECD (2011), classrooms and schools with more disciplinary problems are less conducive to learning, since teachers have to spend more time creating an orderly environment before instruction can begin. Interruptions in the classroom disrupt students’ concentration on, and their engagement in, their lessons. Acts of indiscipline as exhibited by secondary students include; dishonesty, lack of respect and lack of consideration for elders and those in authority, rudeness, absenteeism and lateness to school, selfishness, avarice, indolence, gambling, rape, cultism, smoking, loitering, examination malpractices, illicit affair between teachers and students and among students, disloyalty and other unpatriotic acts, lack of public-spiritedness and consideration for others, drunkenness, indecent dressing to mention a few. These cases of indiscipline are more pronounced among secondary school student, because at the stage most students would have started observing changes in their body, and when they notice certain biological changes signaling maturity in the course of their growth and development, they tend to misbehave by faulting school rules and regulations (Yaroson, 2004).
Statement Of Problem
Lateness among school pupils is increasing and spreading. Everywhere is a way that cannot be controlled in our societies. A close look at the factors that are responsible for it, it’s the purpose of the study.
The importance of this can never be over liked in the process of learning experience had shown that children who are habitual late comer never do well in their academics, this is true because before their arrival it is very likely for them missing some steps in the teaching/learning process. This will affect their learning adversely.
Inspite of the efforts made by the teachers and the school authorities to solve this problem. The children where still found indulging in late coming in an attempt to know the factors responsible the teachers attributed it to the parents while the parents hold the teacher to ransom. To some others, the children themselves and the peers group influence are responsible.
With the result of this study, it is believed that solutions to this problem will be provided as the factors responsible for the lateness are identified and recommendations are made. The children will be better guided and ways of overcoming their problems and like up to expectation as good children are know.
In addition, this study will also help the nation as the children will now develop the spirit of punctuality at school and becomes good citizen in their future life.
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