The Impact of Cultism on Academic Performance of Students in Some Selected Secondary Schools

The Impact of Cultism on Academic Performance of Students in Some Selected Secondary Schools
The Impact of Cultism on Academic Performance of Students in Some Selected Secondary Schools

The Impact of Cultism on Academic Performance of Students in Some Selected Secondary Schools

Abstract

The main purpose of this study is to investigate the impact of cultism on academic performance of students in some selected secondary schools in Uyo Urban. Research questions and research hypotheses were formulated to guide the study. The study adopted descriptive survey design. This study employed the descriptive survey design.

The population of the study consisted of selected secondary schools in urban area of Uyo. The sample of the study was 186 respondents selected from two secondary schools in Uyo Urban (Uyo High School, Uyo and Community Comprehensive Secondary School, Aka Offot) through purposive sampling technique. The principal instrument used for data collection for the research was a self- structured questionnaire to collect responses from the respondents.

The data collected are analysed using frequency counts, percentages, mean, standard deviation and t-test statistics. The result of the findings revealed that cultism has negative impact on academic performance of students in secondary schools in Uyo Urban. 

The study concludes that, the school, parents, the P.T.A., the security agents and all tiers and arms of government must jointly and cooperatively fight cultism in schools and in the wider society no matter who and whose child is involved in the interest of peace, security of the individual and national development. Recommendations were made among others that, students’ activities should be adequately supervised and monitored through guidance and counseling by teachers and trained guidance counselors.

 

CHAPTER ONE

INTRODUCTION

1.1       Background to the Study

Secondary school education is the kind of education given to students who have completed primary education; given in secondary schools, and which prepares them for higher education. It is a connection between primary and higher education levels. Secondary school education is designed for six years (i.e., Junior Secondary School 1 – Junior Secondary School 3 and Senior Secondary School 1 – Senior Secondary School 3). It is aimed at grooming teenagers and adolescence into useful young men and women (Oputa & Obiekwe, 2015).

The success or failure of secondary school students, therefore, is connected to the foundation they receive which could be from the home, school environment, psychological environment, social environment, among others. The aims of secondary education as outlined by the Federal Government of Nigeria (FGN, 2014) include: To provide all primary school leavers with the opportunity for education of a higher level, irrespective of sex, social status, religious or ethnic background; Offer diversified curriculum to cater for the difference in talents, opportunities and future roles; provide trained manpower in the applied science, technology and commerce at sub-professional grades;

develop and promote Nigerian languages, art and culture in the context of world’s cultural heritage; Inspires students with a desire for self improvement and achievement of excellence; Foster national unity with an emphasis on the common ties that unite us in our diversity; Raise a generation of people who can think for themselves, respect the views and feelings of others, respect the dignity of labor, appreciate those values specified under our broad national goals and live a good citizen and provide technical knowledge and vocational skills necessary for agricultural, industrial, commercial and economic deve1opment among others.

The Impact of Cultism on Academic Performance of Students in Some Selected Secondary Schools

Perhaps, this was basically why Offor and Offiah (2021) posited that education is a potent force that brings about change in the attitude, thought, behaviour, skills, values and interest of individuals. It is these changes in cognitive, psychomotor and affective orientation that are required for overall development. Education helps one to become a useful member of the society and participate in the ongoing changes and developments. Education is therefore vital for the economic prosperity of a nation.

Cultism, also known as campus or student cults, denotes secretive groups within educational institutions characterized by clandestine rituals, hierarchies, and codes of conduct often involving illegal or unethical activities. Originating primarily in Nigeria, these groups have proliferated globally, posing significant challenges to academic environments. Research studies, such as Ogunleye & Oni (2019) and Olatunji (2018), have extensively examined the impact of cultism on academic performance.

They illuminate how involvement in these groups leads to distractions, increased stress, and compromised academic engagement, resulting in poor grades, lower GPAs, and, in extreme cases, dropout rates. The psychological toll is evident as well, with students experiencing anxiety, depression, and decreased focus due to the fear of intimidation or violence from these groups. Moreover, cultism’s effects extend beyond individual academic outcomes. It disrupts the educational atmosphere, fostering violence and fear, hindering the free exchange of ideas, and compromising the quality of education within institutions. Additionally, the allure of belonging drives some students to join these groups, impacting their academic pursuits for a sense of community or protection.

Without reservation, cultism is gradually becoming a way of life among secondary school students in Nigeria. Cultism encouraged disruptive behaviour among students in school and outside school environment. Cultism affects access to education as fear of being attacked threaten the security of teachers and students who are not cult members on their way to school and while in the classroom; such fears increases students and teachers’ absenteeism in school; and further make it cumbersome for students to actualise their educational dream.

In Uyo Urban, the prevalence of cultism among secondary school students is at the increase. Daily Post National Newspaper published on June 24, 2021 that “Uyo High School shut down as students give principal 24 hours ultimatum to release detained cultists”. According to the publication, the school has been notorious for cult war, but the one that occurred two weeks ago led to an attack on a Mobil filling station, located opposite the school.

It was gathered that during the rival cult war, the students threw stones at the glass house of the filling station and destroyed it. Amid the pandemonium, it was further gathered that the principal arrested and detained some students at the police headquarters, Ikot Akpanabia Uyo. Those arrested were allegedly involved in cultism and have been unleashing mayhem in the school. Similarly, in another publication by Punch Newspaper March 12, 2022 reported that “Akwa Ibom shuts school as suspected cultist stabs student to death”.

The publication has it that, the Akwa Ibom State Government has ordered the closure of the Community Comprehensive Secondary School, Aka Offot, in the Uyo Local Government Area of the state as suspected cultist stabbed an SSS2 student to death. Furthermore, in some of the communities in Uyo it is common to see students in corners of residence and bushes dress slovenly, indulging in drunkenness, smoking of cigarettes and psychotropic substance such as marijuana during learning periods. Having smoked and get drunk they begin to constitute threat to teachers and fellow students.

They do this to conquer fear as they become bolder to carry out their cult activities. Such negative behaviour also instigated them to cheat during examinations even though many of them end up with failure and poor grades. According to Abdul (2013) as cited in Ejirefe and Aruwa (2023), cultism creates an atmosphere of indiscipline, deviance, lawlessness and insecurity of lives and properties in institution of learning. The authors further stated that cultists among students hardly stay in class to study.

The broader implications also encompass the reputation and credibility of educational institutions. Incidents linked to cultism tarnish an institution’s image, affecting its appeal to prospective students, faculty, and collaborators. This damaged reputation can have long-term consequences on the institution’s academic standing and resources. Based on this background, this study aimed to investigate the impact of cultism on academic performance of students in some selected secondary schools in Uyo Urban.

1.2       Statement of the Problem     

The detrimental effects of rising cultism among secondary school students ripple beyond immediate academic setbacks. Instances of violence, coercion, and the pervasive culture of fear induced by these groups severely disrupt students’ ability to concentrate on their studies.

As a consequence, their academic performance suffers, marked by a noticeable decline in grades and overall educational achievements. The coercive nature of these activities often compels students to prioritize the demands of these groups over their academic responsibilities. This prioritization leads to compromised learning outcomes, hindering their intellectual growth and academic progress.

Moreover, the psychological toll stemming from involvement in cultism further exacerbates the impact on academic performance. The constant fear of reprisal or the emotional distress induced by these experiences significantly impairs students’ focus, concentration, and overall engagement in their studies. This emotional burden creates a hostile learning environment that adversely affects not only the individual students involved but also their peers, disrupting the educational journey of the entire school community.

It has been observed that the compromised academic performance resulting from the influence of cultism among secondary school students jeopardizes their future prospects. The decline in educational achievements can limit their opportunities for higher education, employment prospects, and overall socio-economic advancement. Therefore, this study aimed to investigate the impact of cultism on academic performance of students in some selected secondary schools in Uyo Urban.

1.3       Purpose of the Study

The main purpose of this study is to investigate the impact of cultism on academic performance of students in some selected secondary schools in Uyo Urban. Specifically, the study aimed to:

  1. investigate the prevalence rate of Cultism in secondary schools in Uyo Urban.
  2. find out the factors responsible for cultism in secondary schools in Uyo Urban.
  3. find out whether cultism have any impact on academic performance of students secondary schools in Uyo Urban.
  4. determine measures designed to combat cultism in secondary schools in Uyo Urban.
  5. find out constraints towards fighting cultism in secondary schools in Uyo Urban.

1.4       Research Questions

The following research questions guided the study:

  1. What is the prevalence rate of Cultism in secondary schools in Uyo Urban?
  2. What are the factors responsible for cultism in secondary schools in Uyo Urban?
  3. Does cultism have any impact on academic performance of students’ secondary schools in Uyo Urban?
  4. What are the measures designed to combat cultism in secondary schools in Uyo Urban?
  5. What are the constraints towards fighting cultism in secondary schools in Uyo Urban?

1.5     Research Hypotheses

The following research hypotheses were formulated to guide the study:

  1. There is no significant difference on the prevalence rate of cultism among secondary school students in schools in Uyo Urban.
  2. There is no significant difference between academic performance of students in selected secondary schools on the impact of cultism in Uyo Urban
  3. There is no significant difference in the constraints towards fighting cultism in secondary schools in Uyo Urban.

1.6       Significance of the Study         

The study will be of importance in the following ways:-

  1. To Students, understanding the detrimental effects of cultism on academic performance can empower students to recognize the risks and make informed choices, safeguarding their academic pursuits and overall well-being.
  2. To Parents, awareness of the impact of cultism can prompt parents to engage in discussions with their children, providing guidance and support to steer them away from such activities, ensuring their educational success and safety.
  3. To School Administration, this study can equip school administrators with insights to implement proactive measures, such as awareness programs and counseling services, fostering a safer and conducive learning environment, and promoting academic excellence.
  4. Educational Policies, findings from this study could influence educational policies aimed at creating stricter measures against cultism in schools, ensuring a secure educational setting conducive to learning.
  5. Furthermore, the study’s findings can serve as a catalyst for community-wide awareness campaigns, rallying support against cultism, and fostering a united effort to protect students and uphold educational standards.
  6. In addition, insight from this study could aid law enforcement agencies in developing strategies to address cultism-related issues, ensuring a safer environment within educational institutions.
  7. Lastly, knowledge derived from this study empowers students to stand against peer pressure, fostering a culture of resilience and self-advocacy against the allure of cult activities.

1.7      Limitations of the Study

Some of the challenges encountered while conducting the research include lack of sufficient funds and short duration assigned for the study.

1.8       Delimitation of the Study

For the purpose of effective research work, this study was delimited in scope to secondary school students in selected secondary schools in Uyo Urban; on the impact of cultism on academic performance of students in selected secondary schools in Uyo Urban.

1.8       Definition of Terms

 The following concepts are defined as they are applied in the study.

Cultism: Cultism refers to the practices, beliefs, and activities of clandestine groups or organizations within educational institutions or society at large. Cultism within the context of secondary schools refers to the formation and activities of secretive groups or cliques among students within these educational institutions.

Academic performance: Academic performance refers to the level of achievement and success that a student demonstrates in their academic endeavors. It encompasses various aspects such as grades, test scores, class participation, attendance, and overall engagement in learning activities.

Students: The term “student” refers to an individual who is enrolled in an educational institution and is actively engaged in learning, acquiring knowledge, and developing skills.

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