Stealing Among Students; Causes And Remedies

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Stealing Among Students; Causes And Remedies


This study was carried out on stealing among students. This study reports students, teachers, deputy principals and District Quality Assurance and Standards Officer’s (DQASOs) views on the extent to which stealing is a problem behavior among students in public secondary schools in Kaduna. The study assesses stealing as a problem behavior among students in public secondary schools in Kaduna using descriptive survey research design. The target population for the study consisted of 5,796 students, 267 teachers, 1 DQASO and 12 Deputy Principals in the 12 (seven boys’ and five girls’ public boarding secondary schools) single sex public boarding secondary schools in the sub-county. A sample size of 497 consisting of 361 students, 119 secondary school teachers, 1 DQASO and 7 Deputy Principals was used. Data was collected using questionnaires and interview schedule. The findings showed that stealing was a prevalent behavior problem among students in in Kaduna as several cases of stealing had been handled by teachers in schools depriving students’ quality time for teaching-learning activities. Further, the findings revealed that the most culpable class of students likely to engage in stealing in boys’ public boarding secondary schools were Form II’s while in girls it was the Form III’s. Based on the findings it is suggested that the Nigerian Government through the Nigeria institute of Curriculum Development to ensure that the value of integrity is mainstreamed in the basic education curriculum in all the subjects so as to address stealing and other vices in Kaduna.

Chapter One


1.1 Background to the Study

Stealing can take various forms and kinds; it can be robbery, forgery, plagiarism, evading taxation, infidelity, depriving (someone) of something belonging or due and embezzlement. Stealing is an old and common problem in the history of mankind. Implied in the Holy Bible as early as in the times of Abraham and his son Isaac. People globally steal from each other, in families and in institutions.

Students’ discipline is very important for the success of any institution. Bafoua (1983) as cited by Joseph (2003) describes how discipline was an important element in the education of the ancient Greece. According to Bafoua; The whole life of an individual, all his activity, even his family and conjugal relations were submitted to the state and carefully regulated by it. Everything aims at the selection of the race, at the hardening of the individual, at the preparation of the steady, sober, crafty soldiers, ready for all hardships and scarifies, animated by absolute discipline. Men and women remained submitted to the old who were the authorities of the city.

He explains that, discipline was of paramount importance in the Greek society and it is that discipline that made Sparta strong, respectful and glorious city in the world. He further pointed out the fact that, in our present society, discipline is needed and without it we cannot achieve many successes, progress or even prosper. According to him, that is why there are established laws in each country and even in our schools with rules and regulations yet indiscipline cases are high.

Schools are providers of formal education, an important process that each individual has to undergo in life today. Education therefore should be comprehensive, holistic and not just mere dictation of ideas or offering of formulas to be stored in the brain and mastering skills of answering question at the end of the course (Durka, 2002). Thus, formal education aims at shaping desirable behaviors among students and fading the undesirable ones. However, this key role of education has not been fully attained as students’ behavior in schools is a prevailing problem affecting public boarding secondary schools in many nations in the world (Yahaya, Ramli, Hashim, Ibrahim, Rahman, &Yahaya, 2009). Many public boarding secondary schools have to deal with inappropriate behaviors among students, including stealing behavior. Stealing is a covert activity as many instances of stealing are not directly observed (M’Phail, 2008). Children, as they steal, consciously hide the behavior from the property owner ensuring that nobody notices them. M’Phail (2008) further noted that adults too rarely admit knowing about stealing behavior perpetuated by their children.

Research shows that, stealing among students is still a problem behavior in many public schools, in America. The National Crime Prevention Council (n.d) observed that young people between the ages of 12 to 17 in America are far more likely to be victims of property crimes than adults. At this age, most of the young people are expected to be in school in accordance to the No Child is Left Behind Act (Cortiella, 2006).

Robert, Zhang, and Truman (2012) in their recent report on the indicators for crime and safety, further observed that 85 percent of public schools in America recorded one or more incidents of stealing that had taken place during the 2009–10 school year. A survey by Josephson Institute Center for Youth Ethics (2012), also reported that one in three boys and four girls admitted stealing something in 2012. Similar situation is evident in schools in Africa today. Idu and Olugbade, (2011) identifies various forms of antisocial behaviors among secondary school students in Nigeria inclusive of stealing problem, which contradict African cultural values and morality.

In Nigeria students’ success in education is pegged on excelling in exams which challenges the achievement of holistic education. Thus many public secondary schools in recent times have witnessed tremendous growth, in incidents of problem behaviors. This, according to Wanza (2012), shows that the Nigerian education system is lacking something and needs an overhaul. It implies that the emphasis should not only be academic but more so on shaping learners’ behavior. Ojowi and Simatwa (2010) pointed out several infractions, stealing among students being one of them, that require guidance and counseling in secondary schools in Kenya. Thus stealing behavior could be a significant problem affecting the school life of students in public boarding secondary schools. According to Wamalwa (2012) the trend of theft of books in both primary and secondary schools in Kaduna state has greatly increased. While condemning the incidents Bishops of different denominations in the county suspected that some teachers were taking part in the activity by giving the thieves the necessary information (Kimaiyo, 2012). This is a clear indication to the kind of dilemma in which students find themselves in when even those they are supposed to emulate are associated with stealing activities.

In USA, a study done on attitudes and conduct of some 29, 760 high school students by Josephson Institute found out that an average of 30% of students admitted to have stolen from a store within the past year (Josephson institute of Ethic, 2009). Subair (1999) in his research reported that stealing was among the three most frequently committed crimes among secondary school students in Botswana.

Despite the efforts by stakeholders to curb the situation, recent trends depict rising rate of incidence of stealing and deviate behavior among a section of students in public school, thereby creating a feeling of insecurity among teachers and students alike. The declining rate of discipline in many schools has contributed to the erosion of high academic attainments, demoralized teaching staff and has brought sorrow and disappointment to many parents(Frimpong 2003).

1.2 Problem Statement

Stealing in schools has been experienced for time in memorial, but the magnitude in which it is manifesting itself in today’s schools is alarming creating great concern among education administrators, teachers and stakeholders. It is important to note that, stealing affect the learner than anybody else. This situation has been a major concern to parents and those in the school community who suggest that disciplinary strategies be applied by teachers and the rapport be created between students and teachers as a systematic way to solving the problem. The examinations of the factors that contribute to students’ indiscipline and how it affects their academic performance can enable stakeholders achieve the best educational outcomes for students in schools. Many stakeholders including parents, teachers, and circuit supervisors are complaining about the poor academic performance of pupils as a result of their indiscipline acts. This has prompted research into finding the causes and effects and possible solutions to curb this problem. In Gumani Junior High School in Kaduna Metropolis, for instance, the problem of indiscipline has featured prominently in stakeholder meetings. Suggestions have been put forward on how to tackle the problem in the forums, but the teachers and parents have not been able to control this menace. It is in light of this reality that it was necessary to conduct a study on the causes and effects of students’ indiscipline that teachers’ face so that they can be identified and solutions sought. This problem is typical in Gumani Junior High School hence the need to conduct research in the area (The chronicle).

Each school in Kenya has a set of rules and regulations which act as a code of discipline to guide and govern the behavior of students, failure to which is regarded as misbehavior (Nyongesa, 2007). Despite the fact that much effort has been put in to enhance desirable behaviors in schools, research shows that stealing among students in schools is still a significant problem affecting the school life of many students (Yahaya et al., 2009). In addition, Hamasi (2010) observes that in spite of the measures highlighted by the Ministry of Education to shape students’ desirable behaviors, schools are not working effectively.

Against this background, the study seeks to find out the causes of indiscipline, with special reference tostealing among students and how this affect their academic performance and the various ways by which it can be dealt with using Gumani Junior High School in Kaduna as a case.

1.3 Purpose of the Study

The purpose of the study was to explore the causes of stealing among students at Gumani Junior High School and how this affects their academic performance as well as the possible ways to addressing this problem.

1.4 Research Objectives

The study sought to;

  1. Identify the causes of stealing among students in Secondary Schools.
  2. Examine the effects of stealing among students on academic performance in Secondary schools.
  3. To identify possible ways stealing can be reduced or eradicated in Secondary Schools.

1.5 Research Questions

The following research questions were formulated to guide the study.

  1. What are the causes of stealing among students at Secondary Schools in Kaduna?
  2. How does stealing among students affect their academic performance?
  3. What are the possible ways of reducing or eradicating stealing in Secondary Schools in Kaduna?

1.6 Significance of the Study

Conducting research into the effects of stealing is an important exercise for both academicians and policy makers. Learning cannot take place in an environment of chaos. The findings of the study will assist academicians, policy maker, administrators and teachers to know the causes of student indiscipline and therefore be in a better place to create conducive environment devoid of high level of student indiscipline. The finding will also assist teachers to indentify the weaknesses of the existing strategies and also lead to the development of new strategies for addressing stealing in school.

Also, the study will enlighten parents on the need to train their wards at home so that they can be good mannered and behave well at school, the community and the society as a whole.It will result in the community producing acceptable members of the society who aren’t threats to social stability and peace. That why the saying goes,’ charity begins at home’.

The study will also contribute to existing literature and stimulate further research on the topic and guide further research work.

1.7 Scope of the Study

As noted earlier, stealing problems persist in all schools across Nigeria, this study is limited to Secondary Schools in Kaduna. The teachers and students included in the sample were those in session as at the time of the study. The study focused on the causes and effects of stealing among students in Secondary Schools in Kaduna State and ways in which the situation can be curbed.

1.8 Limitation of the Study

The study covers only one basic school hence the findings of this study would not be generalized to all secondary schools in the country. Interview was not use to collect gather because of the sample size involves and the availability of time.

Another limitation was that the respondents’ just responded to the questionnaire without expressing their views in details. Also, most of the teachers were not at post as at the time the questionnaires were administered and a few of them did not return their questionnaires at the time of the collection of the questionnaires and this reduced the return rate. Out of the fifteen questionnaires administered to the teachers, ten were received in return, instead of the fifteen administered.

1.9 Organization of the Study

This study is organized into five chapters. It started with chapter one which presented the introduction and provided the background to the study and discussed key research issues such as statement of problem, research objectives, research questions, significance of the study, definitions of key terms as well as organization of the study chapters.

Chapter two is literature review. Literature is provided on the causes of students’ indiscipline, the effects of student indiscipline on academic performance and the various ways of dealing with student indiscipline. It included conceptual and theoretical framework.

Chapter three is made up of research methods which include research design, sampling technique and procedure, population definition and instrumentation. It also described data sources and methods of data collection and ethnical concern.

Chapter four presented data analysis and discussions of research findings and the final chapter which is chapter five presents summary of findings, conclusions and recommendations.

Chapter Five

Conclusion and Recommendation

5.1 Conclusion

The study established that stealing was a prevalent behavior problem among students in Kaduna state as several cases of stealing had been handled by teachers in schools depriving students’ quality time for teaching-learning activities. Students steal a variety of personal items from their schoolmates. Based on this finding one can conclude that students steal to improve their academic life at the expense of behavior formation because they steal stationeries and school uniforms. However some steal for fun to bully the newcomers and to antagonize the higher achievers. This shows that issue of problem behaviors among students has not yet been fully addressed by the government of Nigeria in single sex public boarding secondary schools despite its efforts to promote quality and relevant basic education.

5.2 Recommendations

Based on these findings, the researcher makes the following recommendations; teachers involved in discipline of students in secondary to be provided with this information of factors causing students to steal and their guiding and counseling intervention measures. This will help them deal with stealing problems in schools. The parents should be involved in guidance and counseling of their students who steal. Parents can provide insights to the root cause of stealing behavior in their children and assist in their treatment. More so the Ministry of Education should train Teacher counselors on how to help students with deviant behaviors like stealing in secondary schools.

The study also recommended that the Nigerian Government through the Nigeria institute of Curriculum Development should ensure that the value of integrity is mainstreamed in the basic education curriculum in all the subjects. In addition, the school administration and teachers with the support of parents should sensitize the students on the value of honesty and respect of other peoples’ property which will reduce stealing among students and eventually curb the behavior. This can be strengthened by training of school prefects and peer counselors who will work hand in hand with teachers to curb the behavior as young people easily respond to their peers.

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