Background of the Study
In this era of globalization and technological revolution, education is considered as a first step for every human activity. Education is an essential factor for effective development of any country like Nigeria.
It plays a vital role in the development of human capital and is linked with an individual’s well-being and opportunities for better living (Battle & Lewis, 2002). It ensures the acquisition of knowledge and skills that enable individuals to increase their productivity and improve their quality of life. This increase in productivity also leads towards new sources of earning which enhances the economic growth of a country (Saxton, 2000).
A number of violent events across the nation in our public schools have drawn attention to the educational community in regard to school safety. According to recent polls, citizens identified school safety as the most important problem facing the nation’s schools (Rose & Gallup, 1999).
States, Districts, and schools have worked to institute numerous plans to improve school safety. Many of the plans implemented include efforts to improve student and staff understanding of the many efforts to enhance safe learning environments. Colgan (2005) identifies a list of factors that are associated with safe schools including strong leadership, team orientation, high quality teachers and community involvement. Even with these efforts schools may not be perceived as safe. As a result a deeper look must be taken to better understand the driving forces that affect students, teachers, and parents perceptions of safety.
The issue of poor academic performance of students in Nigeria has been of much concern to the government, parents, teachers and even student themselves. The quality of education not only depends on the teachers as reflected in the performance of their duties, but also in the effective coordination of the school environment (Ajao, 2001).
According to Ajewole and Okebukola (2000), a number of factors are said to have contributed to the students’ poor academic achievement in school. The authors stressed that a host of these factors may surround students’ poor achievement in school which may include: poor study habits and lack of available resource materials, poor school climate, indiscipline, inadequate facilities, teachers’ ineffectiveness, the teaching method and the type of learning environment available for both the pupil’s and the teachers. From the authors view, the poor performance of pupil’s in primary school may be a reflection of the type of learning environment. Farombi (1998) observed that school environment may have negative influence on students’ academic achievement especially if such environment lacks good school climate, instructional materials, discipline, physical facilities, has poor teacher quality, type of location of school is questionable.
Udoka, (2015) identified that a typical primary school environment is defined as a school having appropriate facilities, well-managed classrooms, available school-based health supports, and a clear, fair disciplinary policy. There are many hallmarks of the academic, disciplinary, and physical environments of schools with a positive climate.
The physical environment of school buildings and school grounds is a key factor in the overall health and safety of students, staff and visitors. School buildings and grounds must be designed and maintained to be free health and safety hazards, and to promote learning. Studies have shown that students achievement can be affected either positively or negatively by the school environment. Policies and protocols must be in place to ensure food protection, sanitation, safe water supply, healthy air quality, good lightening, safe playgrounds, violence prevention, and emergency response, among other issues that relate to the physical environment of schools.
Problem of the Study
The safety of school pupils is a major determinant of school enrollment by pupils. It determines to what extent parents and guardians are willing to have their wards entrusted to the school.
A child friendly school environment should be characterized by adequate security for the classroom and school buildings when the school closes for the day or term and availability of teaching learning materials. It is on record that some miscreants do turn unfenced school compounds to Indian hemp smoking arena. Records have also shown that these miscreants defecate in the classrooms and break pupils and teacher’s desk and chairs, making the environment unsafe for learning.
Worry however, is that the current Nigeria primary schools largely lack the appropriate environment conducive for learning and school safety of pupils largely because of the influx of amateurs into the business of education and compromise on licensing and regulatory bodies in ascertaining and approval of schools in Nigeria. Many schools are cited in very unhygienic and unsafe environment thus exposing pupil’s to grave risks. Also, there learning is gravely affected thus this study which seeks to find out the impact of school safety on the academic performance of students in Nigeria.
Purpose of the Study
The general purpose of this study is to access the effect of school safety on the academic performance of pupils in Public Primary Schools in Awka South L.G.A.
The specific objectives therefore include;
- To identify the impact of school safety on academic performance of Pupils in Public Primary schools in Awka South L.G.A.
- To identify the factors that threatens school safety in Public Primary Schools in Awka South L.G.A.
- To identify ways through which school safety can be attained in Public Primary schools Awka South L.G.A.
Significance of the Study
The findings of this research work will be relevant to teachers, parents and guardians, counselors, government, etc.
Practically, this study will benefit the primary school board by equipping them with the practical knowledge required to plan pupils learning environment and necessary safety measures required to make their learning environment conducive so that student’s academic performance can be greatly enhanced.
It would also benefit the primary school teachers and head teachers by helping them identify risk areas in primary schools as it affects pupil’s safety for a proactive preventive measure to be taken.
Parents and guidance will be able to have the knowledge required to access a school to determine its safety before determining if they should send their children to such schools or not.
The government will be informed on the need for ensuring a conducive and safe learning environment with tips on what an ideal school environment should look like.
Theoretically, scholars, students and researcher from all spheres of life will find this material relevant for referencing purpose and further research when approved.
Scope of Study
This study is limited to all public primary schools in Awka North L.G.A. in Anambra State.
The following research questions are put forward by the researcher to help solve the problem identified by the researcher;
- What are the impacts of school safety on academic performance of Pupils in Public Primary schools in Awka South L.G.A?
- What are the factors that threaten school safety in Public Primary Schools in Awka South L.G.A?
- In what ways can school safety be attained in Public Primary schools Awka South L.G.A?