Thursday, 2 May 2013

Indiscipline In Second Cycle Institutions

The media has in recent times been inundated with issues of indiscipline among students in second cycle institutions. The one which presumably is still fresh in the minds of most parents are those of students of Northern School of Business (NOBISCO) and Kumasi Girls’ High. They were alleged to have disobeyed school rules. Perhaps, a form of indiscipline in our second cycle schools is the issue of homosexuality which has caused great concern among the clergy in particular and the citizenry at large. About 12 girls were recently de-boardenised in Wesley Girls High School in Kumasi for their alleged involvement in acts of lesbianism. While these disciplinary actions have been endorsed and hailed by many people, a section of the public has also condemned these actions describing them as harsh and misplaced. There are a number of times when we hear people retort that: our time it was not like this. Now, are the current generations made up of some abnormal genes totally different from ours?

It is a fact that adolescence is a period of transition from childhood to adulthood. This is a critical and defining moment for most of them in a quest to develop and gain their identity. Growing up in a rapidly globalised society, adolescents face a myriad of challenges. In discovering their true identity, adolescents may model personalities including their peers. They may experiment a lot of things including drugs, alcohol and even sex. It is not unusual for teens to rebel against authority either by arguing, disobeying, or talking back to their parents, teachers, and other adults. Some adolescents idolise rebels and feel that disobedience is a way of asserting their maturity.

Child psychologists have asserted that disobedience can have a variety of causes, such as school problems, family stress, the child’s personality, or unreasonable parental expectations. Most parents are married to their jobs to the detriment of the very children whose future they seek to secure. Sex education in some families is erroneously and socio – culturally abominable. When push comes to shore and these adolescents begin to exhibit ruddiness especially in schools amidst the seemingly helpless teachers, it turns out to be a blame game. Teachers blame parents for not bringing up the children properly whilst parents blame the teachers for being irresponsible in maintaining rules for the students. Reinforcement and constructive punishment are vital in the upbringing of the child. Rewarding a child’s good deeds will influence him or her to repeat such deed. Punishments whether in the form of isolation, deprivation or reparation, should aim at causing the child to think about why the consequences have been imposed and to consider not committing that significant misbehaviour again. In the case of the students who are de–boardenised, most of them would have their future jeopardised forever. Most of the victims who have no relatives in towns where their schools are located and presumably true – may rent rooms in town preying themselves to unscrupulous adults. Others who cannot afford to rent rooms in town are likely to drop out of school with its attendant social vices such as armed robbery, prostitution and pick pocketing. As a nation, this erodes the gains of having a well educated populace to ensure gross productivity.

In order to have a responsible youth, there is the need for parents to include their wards in rule setting and be consistent in enforcing them. They have to create an open communication channel with their wards, recognise positive behaviour in their children and reward them as such. Sex education should be paramount and done in a culturally appropriate manner. Teachers and parents have to partner each other for the upbringing of children. Authorities need to strengthen guidance and counselling in the second cycle institutions to provide care and support for the children. The government needs to ensure the full and sustained implementation of the Ghana Youth policy. We as a society owe it a duty to ensure that the youth are brought up in a responsible manner, for it is said that when a dog lies aloof and allows a goat to alert the landlord of the presence of a visitor, then the dog may be ashamed of itself.


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