Background to the Study

Education is the fulcrum that propels meaningful development to any nation. It goes beyond literacy alone because for an individual, education means the provision of opportunity for him to realize his potentials, goals, and abilities in life. Education includes the acquisition of functional skills, moral identity, and ambition to succeed in life and thereby improve the society. Eunice and Zita, (2013), see education as having two ideas implicit in the world. One leading out into new knowledge and experience, the other is that of feeding and thereby growing and developing. There is no nation that can achieve any development without quality education. This is because education is seen as the key factor for national development and empowering the citizens to master their environment in order to compete for survival (Mbachu, 2013). Mbachu (2013) agrees that education has to be a powerful instrument and of good quality to enable the recipient grow into a functional member of his family and of his nation. The importance of education can never be over emphasized and it has been adequately discussed in different literatures (Nwanne-Nzewunwa, 2009; Ojukwu  and  Nwanma,  2015 and Ojukwu and Onuoha, 2016; Ossat, 2012). It is in realization of the importance of education of the child that the government of the Federal Republic of Nigeria in its 1999 constitution made a declaration of the right of every Nigerian child to education, irrespective of gender, tribe, religion or race.

The lofty vision of education as enunciated in the constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria would be realized in a serene and conducive school environment devoid of any form of insecurities. According to Lehr (2014), the noble goals of education can never be achieved in a vacuum. They would be achieved in a conducive and peaceful school environment. If there is a feeling of insecurity within and outside the school environment, both students and teachers are likely to be deterred and this may inhibit academic performance of the students.

Matters of insecurity are topical issues in today’s Nigeria education. Insecurity in academic institutions is a social problem that cannot be over-emphasized because of its far-reaching implications and dire consequences on education, the economy and society in general.  It  is  an  issue  that  should  be  seriously  tackled  as  Nigerians endeavor to forge a strong, just, democratic and egalitarian society. Although the issue of insecurity has attracted much public interest over the years, interest in solving the insecurity equation appears to be waning and even when the issue is addressed, little emphasis seems to be paid on the gory socio-economic, political and spiritual implications (Blomberg, Hess and Orphanides, 2004).

Insecurity according to Abubakar, 2004; Ezeoha, 2011 Akinola, 2006; Ndoma-Egba, 2014) is a major challenge confronting humanity today. Challenges of insecurity are so pervasive that it dominates the news items in every mass communication media throughout the world. For instance, the whole of the Arab world has known no peace since the Al-Qaida group led by Osama Bin Ladin bombed the United States of America’s World Trade Centre on the 11th of September 2001, wars and threats of wars are common features in most of the developing nations of the world. The pervading threats of wars are not limited to international level but also manifests in various forms of intra-national wars.

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 (2007) writes, “Schools, places that should be safe for children, have increasingly become the prime target of attacks by armed parties”.

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). Reports have it that academic achievement is been threatened as neighborhoods become insecure 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 north-eastern 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 (Wike quoted in, 2015), data on prevailing literacy level in Northeastern Nigeria suggest that basic education has been experiencing serious problems in the region before the insurgences.

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 Maslow, Iyenger (2007) 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.

Academic performance entails that students are required to maintain a satisfactory academic record and meet the obligations of the school they are enrolled (Ojukwu, and Nwanma 2015). Academic performance is the outcome of education, the extent to which a student achieved the educational goals. Put in another way, good academic performance is the personal comportment and commitment of the student to actualize his/her academic purposes which may include concentrating on one’s studies, having confidence  to  success  oriented  academic  activities  in  school  and  so  in  other  to maximally actualize his life career or dream (Olofintoye, 2005). Good or bad academic performance can make or mar the goals of a student’s life as well as the national goals and development. A good academic performance would bring  about  the  motivation  and  enthusiasm  the  student  needs  to  attain  a  high academic standing. This academic performance most times is been affected with the issues of insecurity in the state, which is why the researcher seeks to investigate the perceived impact of insecurity on the academic performance of secondary school students in Awka south Local Government Area of Anambra state.



Statement of the Problem

Recently major stakeholders in Education such as government, industries, communities, parents, schools even students and many others have been lamenting over the poor quality of students especially in Awka South in both learning and character suggesting a poor academic performance. Researchers like Ojukwu and Nwanma (2015) have speculated reasons for the failure on the part of the Nigerian students in secondary schools including those in Awka South to acquire the necessary social, psychological and academic skills to cope with demands of life and living in and outside the school. Their findings and suggestions tend to point at those issues which tend to waste students’ time and then have false notions about true life situations. Others have focused on teaching and learning materials as well as students themselves. An area that seems to have been neglected by past researchers is the impact insecurity will have on the academic performance of the secondary school students.

According to Ojukwu and Nwanma (2015), since the inception of democracy in Nigeria in 1999, insecurity has become a major issue of concern to every citizen. In Awka South, on a daily basis the media have continued to highlight and discuss incessant cases of armed robbery, kidnapping, bombings, abductions, rape, cultic activities and a high rise in ethnic and communal clashes, which have become regular occurrences and have characterized life in Nigeria (Nwangwa, 2014). If some places in the country can be free from insecurity, our academic (schools) institutions will improve very well but in Awka, the reverse is the case because our schools have also become hot spots where cases of insecurity are recorded (Ojukwu & Nwanma, 2015).  Thus, there is need to find out the perceived impact of insecurity on the academic performance of secondary school students in Awka South Local Government Area of Anambra state.




Objectives of the Study

The focus of this study is to investigate the perceived impact of insecurity on the academic performance of secondary school students in Awka South Local Government Area of Anambra state. Specifically, the study sets to:

  1. Ascertain the forms of insecurity experienced in Awka south LGA that affect academic performance of secondary school students
  2. Determine the causes of the insecurities in Awka south LGA that affect academic performance of secondary school students
  3. Examine the relationship between insecurity and the academic performance of secondary school students in Awka South LGA.

Significance of the Study

The significance of this study is particularly in the area of academic performance and so, its findings will be beneficial to all the stakeholders in education which includes; the students, teachers, parents, school administrators, the government and future researchers in the following regard;

  • To the students: the study will be beneficial to the students as they will be more comfortable, have better learning experiences in school environment, learn in a comfortable environment free from security threats as that will help improve their academic performance, learning will be more effective and academic excellence will be achieved
  • To the teachers: teachers will be more comfortable while teaching, have better teaching experiences in school environment, teach in a more relaxed and comfortable environment free from security issues as that will aid passing of knowledge to the students more effective and increased academic performance will be achieved.
  • To the parents: the findings of this study will be beneficial to parents because when the issue of security is addressed and solved, parents can freely release their wards to participate in all academic activities knowing that there are no security threats, such active participation will lead to increased academic performance.