BACKGROUND TO THE STUDY
Moral decay, according to Adedoyin (2012), is described as excessive delinquent, disorderly, irregularity, destructive unfair, and non-conforming actions of stratified persons or individuals that continue to proliferate intra and inter-institutional campuses. These issues undermine the academic integrity of institutions and damage peace, security, progress, and actual growth of society. Collectively, indiscipline leads to anti-human actions that fail all measures of decency and civilized living circumstances. Different civilizations have their own set of moral standards that are deemed normal, ideal, and ethically acceptable in their societies (Ken, 2010). As a result, moral standards rule and influence the behavior of people in a society. Moral virtue is defined as the propensity and capacity to identify and perform what is good rather than what is wrong. Moral virtue, according to Aristotle, is a habit that is intentionally formed by practice. Thus, from the time of Socrates to Plato and via Aristotelian philosophy, excellent moral behaviour has been stressed and repeated in society. That may lead Fredrick Herbert to conclude that the goal of education, and indeed the entire purpose of education, should be summed up under morality. As a result, in the context of education, the public holds schools and instructors more responsible for their kids’ learning and behavior. Students’ disobedience is a worldwide problem. It pervades all educational environments. Student indiscipline statistics exist in all educational institutions across the world (Lois, 2008). For example, according to Larson (2008), the National Center for Educational Statistics found that 36% of students in grades 9-12 reported being in a physical fight during the previous year in 2006. According to the studies, students physically assaulted four percent (4%) of inner city instructors and three percent (3%) of suburban and rural school teachers. According to Kuntz (2000), primary and secondary school teachers in both private and public schools are confronted with examples of bad behavior on a daily basis, such as the destruction of school equipment and furniture, students’ lack of respect for one another or for adults, all of which obstruct the normal school routine.
Danso (2010) bemoaned the high level of indiscipline and lawlessness in Ghanaian educational institutions. He remarked that hardly a day goes by without a report of a youngster committing an act of indiscipline in primary and secondary schools. In educational institutions, he bemoaned the causes of drug misuse, rape, armed robbery, and even murder. Meaningful teaching and learning aimed at achieving school goals, he claims, is impossible to achieve if instructors and students are not disciplined. Despite attempts by stakeholders to address the problem, recent trends show an increase in the prevalence of violence and deviant conduct among a subset of students in public schools, producing a sense of unease among instructors and students. Many parents have expressed their dissatisfaction and sadness as a result of the lowering rate of discipline in many schools, which has led to the erosion of high academic achievement, demoralized teaching staff, and brought pain and despair to many parents (Frimpong 2008). Morongwa (2010) identified three types of misbehaviors in the classroom that are considered disciplinary problems for the educator: misbehavior that interferes with the learner’s own learning, misbehavior by one learner that interferes with the learning of another, and misbehavior that is disrespectful, deviant, or abusive to the educator. He went on to say that this type of misconduct might be done purposefully or accidentally. According to Chukwuka (2013), students are not born with a discipline problem, they did not acquire it from anybody, and it is not hereditary. Everyone is born without blemishes or wrinkles. When children begin to socialize with their peer groups, they become difficult. As a result, their family and school environment may have an impact on them. Our educational system was built around the child and what he or she would become in the community. As a result, the home, school, and community must join hands and engage with the kid in such a way that discipline is instilled in the child. The causes of student disobedience are numerous and varied. However, they may be divided into three categories: dysfunctional home life, inadequate school management, and the pervasive negative effect of a corrupt society. (Nigeria Information, 2013) According to Freire(2009), the causes of student indiscipline include those related to the student’s idiosyncrasies, his or her family context, external influences of social, economic, cultural, generational, and other nature, those related to teacher personality and professionalism, and those related to the school as an organization or the educational system as a whole. Moral misbehavior by students at Nigerian higher education institutions includes robbery, cheating, cultism, forgery, corruption, fraud, indecent dressing, and contempt for established authority. This study investigates moral wrongdoing among Nigerian students at higher education institutions in this respect.
STATEMENT OF THE PROBLEM
The study that prompted me to start writing this project is that modernity and western technologies are infiltrating the adolescents’ perceptions of what constitutes civilisation. If left uncontrolled, such power will utterly dissolve. The youth’s cherished values and rituals will become integral components and forces of their lives, particularly in learning processes (Amado, 2010). Some young people are pleased to be recognized since their manner of clothing and orderly activities have conformed them to western ideals, which include such things as cultism, smoking, prostitution, examination malpractices, drug misuse, drinking, thieving, and so on. To improve the situation of Nigerian youngsters, something effective must be done. The condition among young people is one of the worst in the world. Youths must be instilled with not just information and skills, but also drive and values, in order to improve their physical and mental health. Homes, schools, health-care institutions, community groups, peer groups, and the media must do more in the realm of health promotion, emphasizing health education, building life skills, and enhancing knowledge of the human psychological system, so that youths can have good intrapersonal and interpersonal behaviors, and through understanding of their health, they can avoid risky behaviors (Asake, 2012). Parents’ laxity, in the sense that they neglect to send their children back to school when they see them at home during school hours. In addition, school management and instructors fail to enforce school rules and regulations on students. When students learn that the school administration and instructors are lax in enforcing school rules and regulations, they engage in a variety of indiscipline behaviors (Orobosa, 2009). Any institution’s seamless and successful operation relies heavily on dialogue. Students are given rules and regulations; if these rules and regulations are not followed in one way or another, and there is no conversation between professors and students, indiscipline acts will result. Teachers spend more time policing indiscipline pupils’ conduct, limiting instructional contact hours, which has resulted in low academic performance.
OBJECTIVES OF THE STUDY
The major goal of this study is to discover the elements that cause moral decay among tertiary institution students, as well as the impact it has on their academic performance. More precisely, the study’s goal is to:
i. To determine the reasons of moral degeneration among university students.
ii. To see if there is a link between moral degradation and low academic performance among students.
iii. To identify solutions for reducing moral decadence and restoring morality and good moral behaviour among higher education students.
The following research questions guides the researcher to achieve the objectives of this study:
i. What are the reasons of moral degeneration among university students?
ii. is there a link between moral degradation and low academic performance among students?
iii. What are the solutions for reducing moral decadence and restoring morality and good moral behaviour among higher education students?
SIGNIFICANCE OF THE STUDY
For academics and policymakers alike, doing study on the influence and effect of moral decay is critical. In a chaotic atmosphere, learning is impossible. Academicians, policymakers, administrators, and instructors will benefit from the study’s findings because they will be better able to understand the reasons of student indiscipline and therefore be in a better position to establish a conducive atmosphere free of high levels of student immorality. The findings will also help the government identify the flaws in current techniques and lead to the creation of new ways to combat moral decay in schools. The research will also educate parents on the need of training their children at home so that they may be well-behaved at school, in the neighborhood, and in society as a whole. As a consequence, the community will produce members of society who are not dangers to social stability and peace. That is why it is said that “charity begins at home.” The study will also add to the current body of knowledge, motivate additional research on the subject, and serve as a roadmap for future research.
SCOPE OF THE STUDY
This study was intended to include all tertiary institutions in Kaduna state, but owing to time constraints and other unanticipated circumstances, samples were only obtained from Kaduna State University.
DELIMITATION OF THE STUDY
Due to time constraints and a lack of funds to undertake the study, the research was confined to one university institution in Kaduna state.