Why Have Pupils Become So Unruly?

THE word school has many meanings. But a school, in this theme of the story, is a place where children go to acquire lessons.

This place could start from a pre-school (kindergarten) where children are prepared to go to a primary school for their lower education and later to a secondary school for their higher education.

When the children grow up to be fully fledged adults, they persevere and go into aanced school which could be a college or university.

Thus, from the beginning, a school is a very important place for both children and adults because this is a base which decides a person’s life.

However, it is disheartening to note that in this time, there are many people – to be apt – pupils who do not know the meaning of school and why their parents or guardians send them to school.

In recent times, there have been strange happenings in schools, especially secondary schools, in many parts of the country where pupils have been acting in norms contrary to the expectations of the society.

The strange happenings include pupils – both boys and girls – engaging themselves in activities such as heavy beer drinking, cigarette and dagga smoking.

Although these incidents have been happening almost at will in a number of learning institutions, the most perplexing ones have been those which occurred recently in Kabwe in the Central Province and in Ndola and Chingola in the Copperbelt Province.

Early this month, pupils at Mukobeko Secondary School in Kabwe went wild and set rules for the school contrary to those obtaining in many schools whether privately or government owned schools.

The rules which the unruly pupils set up included allowing dodging and absenteeism, reporting late, wearing bug jackets, boy sagging, stealing, fighting, using mobile phones, smoking and the use of abusive language.

The other rules that the pupils put up were barring teachers entering classrooms at will and that grade 12 pupils were not eligible for punishment.

The pupils went ahead and stuck the rules on walls and trees around the school against those set up by school authorities.

Instead of pupils fearing their teachers, the opposite was the case because it was the teachers who were scared of being harassed by the pupils and because of these ‘strict’ rules, some teachers were forced to abandon classes.

Recently pupils at Sathya Sai School in Ndola’s Pamodzi Township organised a sex party and six of them were suspended and six excluded for engaging in sexual activities.

But shortly after the Ndola incident, pupils at Naboonga Trust School in Chingola allegedly organised another sex party at one of the houses in Riverside residential area. The party involved 42 pupils who included 26 boys and 16 girls who were arrested by the police but later released.

In another incident in Ndola recently, pupils from Chifubu Secondary School persuaded their colleagues at Temweni Secondary School to illegally form a rap club.

The pupils, numbering 12, who were found with beer in their bags and making noise, caused havoc when they were approached and injured by some workers in a brawl.

Why have school going children become so unruly?

According to some people talked to concerning the untoward behaviour by the pupils, the moral fiber in most pupils had been lost due to reasons difficult to fathom.

Some parents and guardians said a number of children had gone out of the way because of the human rights they were enjoying.

It is common in recent times to find pupils in the same drinking places their teachers were found and they did not seem to care knowing that the teachers had little to do with their rights.

At a drinking place in Ndola which was renowned for its patronage by the pupils (the place has since been closed), a teacher was poured with beer for allegedly ‘trespassing’ at the joint.

“This is no going area for ‘ ba sirs’ or ‘ba madams’. They come here at their own peril,” a pupil told me after I witnessed the incident.

‘Ba sir’ is a term referring to male teachers while ‘ba madam’ refers to female teachers.

It was observed that teachers in recent times do not receive the respect that they used to receive some time back.

“During our time, teachers were the most respected class in society and each time you met a teacher, you had to greet him or her in a most appealing manner,” said Monica Kapembwa, a retired teacher.

The case of Mukobeko Secondary School where some unruly pupils drafted and stuck defiant rules at the school could not be condoned by any civilized society.

It seems some pupils who are supposed to be more civilised than those who have not been to school are the most uncivilised people in some communities.

“This never happened in our time. I wonder where this crop of pupils has come from, but I can point out that most of the pupils who behave like this are those who are not intelligent and they do not pay their school fees. This type of pupils need to be expelled from school because they disturb the serious minded pupils,” said Mrs Kapembwa.

After the Mukobeko Secondary School incident, Central Province Permanent Secretary, Edwidge Mutale rebuked the pupils for drafting and sticking the embarrassing rules at the school.

Five pupils were suspended from the school as investigations to establish other pupils behind the rules continue.

Ms Mutale who addressed the pupils later expressed sadness and said it was unfortunate that pupils could engage themselves in such rebellious acts.

“I want to make you understand that education is important and everyone who wants to be somebody in life whether in business or other professional careers need education. So don’t cheat yourself by involving yourself in such lawlessness acts that you can achieve anything,” said Ms Mutale.

Central Province Commissioner of Police, Standwell Lungu said after receiving the report of the incident that police interviewed two pupils to assist them with investigations.

In the Chingola incident where the pupils engaged themselves in a sex party, Naboonga School management suspended 21 pupils for allegedly taking part in the party.

Director of the school, Francesca Mulenga said of the 42 pupils who were detained by the police, 21 were from her school.

“We have since suspended the pupils for three weeks for their alleged bad behaviour,” said Ms Mulenga.

She, however, pointed out that the school had no control over the pupils when they left the school premises.

“The pupils in question have closed school and had opted to go partying, may be with the permission of their parents. In as much as we do not condone the wrongs the pupils at our school do, we will equally not be comfortable if the school is associated to the bad behaviour of pupils during school holidays. The behaviour and conduct of pupils after school was totally the responsibility of parents,” said Ms Mulenga.

The Young Women Christian Association (YWCA) said it was saddened that some young people were abusing their rights by organising functions such as the sex parties that were a danger to their lives.

YWCA Copperbelt coordinator, Sharon Chisanga called on police to arrest the owner of the house where the party was held and explain why such a party was held at the house.

“We are worried that children have started organising such functions where they drink beer, watch pornographic movies and then have sex. This is worrying,” said Ms Chisanga.

She aised young people to desist from engaging in vices that have the potential to destroy their lives adding that the law must be firm on those behind the dirty parties.

Police in Chingola slapped a charge of disorderly conduct on the 42 pupils from various schools who took part in a sex party.

Copperbelt Commissioner of Police, Joyce Kasosa described the incident as sad and urged parents to take more responsibility for their children’s lives.

Concerned with the ill behaviour of the pupils, government called on parents to promote good morals in their children so that they grew up into decent adults that would contribute to national development.

Copperbelt Minister, Mwenya Musenge said there was need for parents not only to take responsibility of their children’s needs but also promote good morals.

Mr Musenge expressed sadness at the number of pupils in the province that were suspended from school for engaging in heavy beer drinking and other illicit activities.

Many parents say they do their best to impart a sense of discipline in their children but were surprised that all the aice that they give fall on deaf ears.

Indeed, some pupils seem to be blind, dumb and deaf with their activities. They need to rise up to the occasion and know that their future lay in education.

It is said that habits established in early years decide whether a person will be victorious or vanquished in the battles of life.

Youths, the sowing time, determines character of the harvest, for now and the future.

Source : The Times of Zambia

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