Effects Of Insecurity On Junior Secondary Students Attitude And Academic Performance In Social Studies


Background to the Study

Insecurity in schools has been studied in diverse ways in the literature. For instance, in most sub-Saharan African countries, insecurity in schools has been studied at the state level, especially where the state uses its repressive mechanisms to quell student rioters and put student leaders in prison under torture (O’Malley 2007). On the other hand, in Middle Eastern countries such as Iran and Palestine, focus has been on attacks on educators as well as how wars can stop children from getting an education (O’Malley 2007). For example in countries like Afghanistan and Palestine, statistics have recounted numbers of teachers killed as a result of violent conflict and abductions (Human Rights Watch 2006). In North America and Europe, the interest in schools and insecurity has mostly been directed at war-torn countries like Afghanistan, Colombia, Democratic Republic of Congo, Sudan and Iraq. In these countries, O’Malley writes, “schools, places that should be safe for children, have increasingly become the prime target of attacks by armed parties” (2007, 7).

Insecurity has been identified as being an anathema to education patronage and development. (Hausler, Urban & McCorquodale, 2011; The World Bank, 2011; Abdulrasheed, Onuselogu & Obioma, 2015) as neighbourhood become insecure (Abdulrasheed, Onuselogu & Obioma, 2015); and schools and colleges are looted, destroyed and abandoned, teachers assassinated, scholars threatened, and students recruited as child soldiers (Hausler, Urban & McCorquodale, 2012; Jones & Naylon, 2014).

The 2011 World Bank Development Report found that people in fragile and conflict-affected states are more than three times as likely to be unable to send their children to school as those in other developing countries. Access to education has been identified as the panacea to the ‘persistent challenges of insecurity facing Nigeria’ (Ndoma-Egba, 2014). In the same vein, falling education coupled with illiteracy have been identified as the main cause of insecurity in the northeastern part of Nigeria (Asaolu, 2012; 2015, Murray-Bruce, 2013). Although Nigeria has the world’s worst record of having some 10 million children out of school, with nine out of these ten millions coming from the North (Nyesom Wike quoted in Naij.com, 2015), data on prevailing literacy level in Northeastern Nigeria suggest that basic education has been experiencing serious problems in the region before the insurgences. For instance, basic education in Borno State were shown to had shortage of classes for teaching and learning, shortage of instructional materials and teachers (NUT, 2007); teachers’ salaries were not paid, leading to frequent strike by basic school teachers (NUT, 2008). As at 2013, Yobe and Borno have the highest illiteracy levels in the country. A whopping 83.3% of boys over 6 and adult men in Jos South, Plateau State have no formal Western education. The figure for Borno which is number two on the list is 63.6%.


The concept of insecurity connotes the state or quality of being insecure. Security in simple terms means protection of lives and properties from destruction. According to Onifode, Imhonopl and Uorim (2013) security is the dynamic condition which involves the relative ability of a state to counter threats to its core values and interest and their primary beneficiaries are the citizens. In addition, sharing the view Abraham Maslow, Iyenger , stated that an insecure person perceives the world as a life threatening jungle, feels unsafe, unhappy, rejected, hostile, and pessimistic, shows a sign of tension, conflict and guilt, and tends to be neurotic and generally egocentric. It therefore seems that when a student studies in an environment that is characterized by insecurity, the student may suffer socially, mentally and emotionally and it makes sense hypothetically to state that all these are likely to affect not only his behavior and psychosocial adjustment but may also affect his academic performance.

According to Ojukwu and Nwanma (2015), insecure school environment, including the dilapidated conditions and teachers’ negative attitude to condone and accept the emotional needs of students, which will lead to undue influences and clashes of a local community interfering with school business. Also, they stated that in insecure school environments the psychological problems of the students are never met or carelessly handled, there are always segregations in the school community along religions, tribal and sectarian lines as students may ignore teachers’ directives and may also challenge the teachers on certain concepts and school properties may likely be deliberately damaged by the students to show their disapproval of managements decisions (Ojukwu & Nwanma, 2015).

Also Ojukwu and Nwanma (2015) reported that in a school environment characterized by insecurity, lateness is the norm in school and students are allowed to freely use handsets and phones. Annually, the external results of the school are always bad as a result of poor teaching climate of the school as having been shown by 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013 and 2014 WAEC results cited above. Other instances of insecurity of the school environment include that sometimes female staff and students complain of being raped or impregnated leading to school dropout (Ojukwu & Nwanma, 2015). Also, parents complain that their children are bullied and injured and the classrooms are overcrowded, poorly ventilated and lit (Ghazi, Shahzada, Tariq & Khan, 2013). The above painted school environment may most likely affect students’ academic performance.

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