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The Impact of Indiscipline on Academic Achievement of Pupils in Some Selected Primary Schools Bwari Area Council FCT-Abuja


This quantitative survey research investigated the prevalence and correlates of indiscipline among primary school pupils in the Bwari Area Council, Nigeria. A structured questionnaire was designed and administered to a sample of 120 respondents, comprising teachers, parents, and school administrators. Data were collected using the questionnaire, and SPSS27 was employed for data analysis, which included descriptive statistics and inferential tests. Specifically, a t-test was utilized to test hypotheses related to the relationship between indiscipline and academic achievement, the impact of indiscipline on pupils’ performance, and the factors contributing to indiscipline in primary schools. The findings revealed a significant relationship between the prevalence of indiscipline and academic achievement among pupils in the selected primary schools, with a mean difference of 81.5 (t = 23.446, p < 0.05). Additionally, the analysis demonstrated that indiscipline significantly impacted the academic performance of pupils (mean difference = 78.75, t = 27.452, p < 0.05). Moreover, the factors contributing to indiscipline were found to vary significantly across different primary schools in the Bwari Area Council (mean difference = 81.25, t = 24.428, p < 0.05). These findings underscored the importance of addressing indiscipline as a multifaceted issue that required a comprehensive understanding of its determinants and consequences. In conclusion, the study highlighted the pervasive nature of indiscipline in primary schools and its detrimental effects on academic outcomes. It underscored the urgency of implementing evidence-based interventions to promote positive behaviour and create conducive learning environments. Based on the findings, several recommendations were proposed, including the development of proactive disciplinary policies, the provision of adequate support and resources for teachers, and the enhancement of parent-school partnerships to address underlying socio-cultural factors contributing to indiscipline.




Background to the Study

Education plays a critical role in the development of individuals and societies. It is a fundamental human right and a major driver of personal and societal advancement. In primary education, the foundation for future learning is established, making it essential for pupils to achieve academically during these formative years. However, various factors can impact academic achievement, including discipline within schools. Indiscipline among pupils is a growing concern in primary schools globally and specifically in Nigeria. Indiscipline manifests in various forms, such as truancy, lateness, disobedience, and other behavioural issues that disrupt the learning environment. These behaviours can hinder the academic performance of the individual pupils involved and affect their peers and the overall school atmosphere (Sonn, 1999).

Understanding the dynamics of indiscipline in schools is crucial. For instance, Jones and Rattray (2020) emphasized the importance of structured environments in maintaining discipline and promoting academic success. In the Bwari Area Council of the Federal Capital Territory (FCT), Abuja, primary schools have faced challenges related to pupil indiscipline. These challenges have implications for academic achievement, prompting a need for comprehensive studies to understand the extent and impact of indiscipline on pupils’ academic performance. This study aims to explore this issue, providing insights that could inform policies and interventions to improve discipline and, consequently, academic outcomes in these primary schools (Kabandize, 2022).

The importance of a conducive learning environment cannot be overstated. Kabandize (2022) highlighted that effective management of student discipline is essential for creating a productive educational atmosphere. Indiscipline, if left unchecked, can disrupt teaching and learning processes, leading to poor academic outcomes. Schools in Bwari Area Council have reported various forms of indiscipline, such as truancy and lateness, which directly affect pupils’ ability to perform academically. Therefore, addressing these behavioural issues is critical to enhancing educational outcomes (Birkett, 2022).

Research has shown that a positive school climate significantly influences pupils’ behaviour and academic performance. Hernandez and Seem (2022) suggest that a systemic approach to creating a safe school climate can mitigate disciplinary issues and promote better academic results. In the context of the Bwari Area Council, implementing comprehensive strategies to improve the school climate and address indiscipline is essential. Such strategies could involve parental involvement, teacher training, and the implementation of clear behavioural policies (Canter, 2020).

The relationship between indiscipline and academic achievement is complex and multifaceted. According to Nichols (2022), exploring discipline and suspension data can provide insights into how disciplinary actions affect student outcomes. In primary schools within the Bwari Area Council, understanding this relationship is vital for developing interventions that not only address indiscipline but also support academic achievement. Effective disciplinary practices should aim to correct behaviour while minimizing negative impacts on learning (Chen, 2020).

Several factors contribute to indiscipline in schools, including socioeconomic conditions, parental involvement, and school management practices. For example, Bratton and Gold (2023) emphasize the role of school leadership in managing discipline and fostering a positive learning environment. In Bwari Area Council, addressing these factors requires a collaborative approach involving educators, parents, and the community. By understanding and addressing the root causes of indiscipline, schools can create an environment conducive to academic success (Adeyemo, 2019).

In addition to internal school factors, external influences such as community and societal norms also play a role in shaping pupil behaviour. Verdugo and Glenn (2022) discuss how race-ethnicity and class can influence disciplinary policies and practices. In the context of the Bwari Area Council, considering these external factors is essential for developing equitable and effective discipline strategies. Ensuring that disciplinary policies are fair and inclusive can help mitigate the negative impact of indiscipline on academic achievement (Everard & Morris, 2022).

The role of teachers in managing classroom behaviour is also critical. Gawe, Jacobs, and Vakalisa (2021) advocate for participative teaching and learning dynamics to engage students and reduce indiscipline. In primary schools in the Bwari Area Council, empowering teachers with the skills and tools to manage behaviour effectively can lead to improved academic outcomes. Professional development and continuous support for teachers are crucial components of this approach (Docking, 2020).

Furthermore, the involvement of parents and the community in school activities can enhance discipline and academic performance. Byarugaba (2021) highlights the importance of students’ participation in decision-making processes as a means of fostering responsibility and reducing indiscipline. In Bwari Area Council, encouraging parental and community involvement in school governance and activities can create a supportive environment that promotes good behaviour and academic success (Bean, 2019).

Statement of the Problem

The issue of indiscipline among pupils in primary schools has been a persistent challenge, impacting academic achievement and overall school climate. While previous research has extensively documented the various forms of indiscipline and their direct effects on academic performance, significant gaps remain in understanding the underlying causes and the effectiveness of different intervention strategies. For instance, most studies, like those by Jones and Rattray (2020), focus on broad disciplinary measures without delving into the specific socio-economic and cultural contexts that may influence pupil behaviour. This lack of context-specific research means that interventions are often generalized and may not be as effective in diverse settings such as the Bwari Area Council in Abuja.

Moreover, while Hernandez and Seem (2022) have explored the role of a safe school climate in mitigating disciplinary issues, there is a paucity of research examining how these findings translate into primary education settings in Nigeria. The unique socio-cultural dynamics and educational infrastructure in Nigeria necessitate localized studies to identify and address specific challenges. Additionally, previous research by Kabandize (2022) highlights the importance of effective school management in maintaining discipline, yet there is limited empirical data on the specific management practices that are most effective in Nigerian primary schools.

Another critical gap is the role of parental and community involvement in managing indiscipline, as discussed by Byarugaba (2021). While the positive impact of such involvement is well-recognized, there is insufficient research on how to practically implement these strategies within the specific context of the Bwari Area Council. Furthermore, Verdugo and Glenn (2022) point out the influence of socio-economic and ethnic factors on disciplinary practices, but there is a need for more nuanced studies that explore these variables within Nigerian primary schools to develop equitable disciplinary policies.

Purpose of the Study

The primary purpose of this study is to examine the impact of indiscipline on the academic achievement of pupils in selected primary schools in the Bwari Area Council of FCT, Abuja. Specifically, the study aims to:

  1. Determine the prevalence and forms of indiscipline in the selected primary schools.
  2. Assess the relationship between indiscipline and academic achievement among pupils.
  3. Identify the factors contributing to indiscipline in the selected primary schools.

Research Questions

To guide the investigation, the following research questions were formulated:

  1. What are the common forms of indiscipline observed in the selected primary schools?
  2. How prevalent is indiscipline among pupils in these schools?
  3. What factors contribute to indiscipline among pupils in these schools?

Research Hypotheses

The study was guided by the following hypotheses:

  1. There is no significant relationship between the prevalence of indiscipline and the academic achievement of pupils in the selected primary schools.
  2. Indiscipline does not significantly impact the academic performance of pupils in the selected primary schools.
  3. The factors contributing to indiscipline do not significantly vary across different primary schools in the Bwari Area Council.

 Scope and Delimitation of the Study

This study focused on primary schools located within the Bwari Area Council of FCT, Abuja. The study was confined to a sample of selected primary schools, considering factors such as school size, location, and administrative setup. The research covered various forms of indiscipline, including truancy, lateness, disobedience, and disruptive behaviour, and examined their impact on academic achievement. Data were collected from pupils, teachers, and school administrators to provide a comprehensive understanding of the issue.

The delimitation of the study was necessary due to time constraints and resource limitations. The study did not extend to secondary schools or other educational levels within the Bwari Area Council. Additionally, the research was limited to quantitative data, excluding a detailed qualitative analysis of the underlying causes of indiscipline beyond what was captured in the questionnaires and interviews.

Significance of the Study

The significance of this study lies in its potential to contribute to both academic research and practical educational policy, specifically addressing the challenges of indiscipline in primary schools within the Bwari Area Council of the Federal Capital Territory, Abuja. The findings of this study are poised to offer several key benefits across various dimensions, including educational outcomes, policy formulation, and community engagement.

Firstly, by investigating the specific nature and extent of indiscipline in Bwari Area Council primary schools, this study will fill a critical gap in localized research. Understanding the unique factors contributing to pupil indiscipline in this context is essential for developing targeted interventions. Such interventions can lead to improved academic performance among pupils, as discipline is closely linked to effective learning environments. Enhancing academic outcomes in primary education lays a stronger foundation for future educational success, which is crucial for the overall development of individuals and the community.

Furthermore, this study is significant for educational policymakers and administrators. By providing empirical data on the impact of indiscipline on academic achievement, the research can inform the development of more effective disciplinary policies and practices. Policymakers will be better equipped to design strategies that address the root causes of indiscipline, rather than merely implementing punitive measures. This shift towards more comprehensive and proactive disciplinary approaches can foster a more conducive learning environment, ultimately benefiting pupils and teachers alike.

In addition to influencing policy, the study will have practical implications for school management. School administrators and teachers will gain insights into the specific behavioural issues prevalent in their schools and the most effective strategies to manage them. This knowledge can lead to the adoption of best practices in classroom management, teacher training, and student engagement. As a result, schools can implement more holistic and sustainable approaches to maintaining discipline, thereby improving the overall educational experience for pupils.

The study also highlights the importance of community and parental involvement in addressing indiscipline in schools. By engaging parents and the broader community in discussions about discipline and academic achievement, the research underscores the role of a supportive and collaborative approach. Increased parental involvement can lead to better monitoring of pupil behaviour and more consistent reinforcement of positive behaviours both at home and in school. This collaborative effort is essential for creating a stable and supportive environment conducive to learning.

Moreover, the research findings can contribute to the broader discourse on education and social development in Nigeria. By providing a detailed analysis of the challenges and solutions related to pupil indiscipline in primary schools, the study can serve as a reference point for future research and initiatives. It can stimulate further investigations into related areas, such as the impact of socio-economic factors on pupil behaviour, the effectiveness of various disciplinary interventions, and the role of teacher-student relationships in fostering discipline.

 Operational Definition of Terms

For this study, the following terms are defined operationally:

Indiscipline: Any behaviour by pupils that disrupts the normal teaching and learning process, including truancy, lateness, disobedience, and disruptive actions.

Academic Achievement: The measurable performance of pupils in their studies, typically assessed through tests, examinations, and overall grades.

Primary Schools: Educational institutions providing the first stage of compulsory education, typically for children aged 6 to 11 years.

Truancy: The act of staying away from school without permission or valid reason.

Lateness: The habit of arriving at school or classes after the scheduled start time.

Disobedience: Failure to follow rules, instructions, or commands from teachers and school authorities.

Disruptive Behaviour: Actions by pupils that interrupt the teaching and learning process, affecting the concentration and participation of others.

Bwari Area Council: A local government area within the Federal Capital Territory (FCT), Abuja, Nigeria, where the selected primary schools are located.


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