Pupils' Riots in Selected High Schools: Their Causes, Effects and Implications

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Kumwenda, Grandman Evans
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Rioting by pupils has been and continues to be one of the major disciplinary problems in Zambian high schools. There have been many cases of serious rioting among pupils in high schools during the post-independence period in Zambia. A number of factors can contribute to rioting among pupils in high schools. The purpose of this study was, therefore, to find out the causes, effects and implications of pupils' riots in four selected government high schools on the Copperbelt and Eastern Provinces. The study sought to: a) Find out the causes of pupils' riots in the selected high schools. b) Investigate the effects of pupils' riots on the teaching-learning environment and infrastructure in the selected high schools. c) Examine the implications of pupils' riots in the selected high schools. The research design used in this study was descriptive survey. The sample comprised two hundred grade eleven and twelve pupils, four head teachers and their deputies, eight officials from DEBS offices, fifty-five teachers and eight PTA members. The study employed purposive sampling technique in order to select the high schools while respondents were selected using simple random sampling. Data were collected through questionnaires and semi-structured interviews. Quantitative and qualitative analysis of data were made. The study revealed that there were many causes of pupils' riots. Among the major ones were lack of open discussions, teachers' failure to understand pupils behavior, poor communication, lack of guidance, among others. It was also found that school administration practices and operational procedures which included lack of consultation with stake holders. The study further portrayed the effects of pupils' riots in selected high schools as being enormous in that infrastructure and the school environment were damaged. It further revealed that all the four selected high schools had poor performance in the mock examinations in 2009 academic year. Based on the findings of the study, the following recommendations were made: • All teachers appointed to headship/deputy headship positions in high schools should undergo high school management training before they take up such positions. • Communication and dialogue between school authorities and pupils should be fostered, for instance through creation of high school representative councils. • Pupils organizing riots should be given stiffer punishments to deter others from doing the same in future. • Parent-Teacher Associations (PTA) should hold meetings regularly. This would make the stakeholders to get the feedback on how the high schools are performing both academically and pupil discipline. • Government should improve the general school teaching-learning environment for both teachers and pupils. Go slow and strikes should be the last resort.
Riots , Riots-High Schools