Juvenile Delinquency and Students’ Academic Performance in Social Studies in Junior Secondary Schools

Juvenile Delinquency and Students’ Academic Performance in Social Studies in Junior Secondary Schools
Juvenile Delinquency and Students’ Academic Performance in Social Studies in Junior Secondary Schools

Abstract: This research work centred on Juvenile Delinquency and Students’ Academic Performance in Social Studies in Junior Secondary Schools in Eket Local Government Area of Akwa Ibom State. To meet up with the objectives of the study three variables were ascertained, namely, school environment, parental socio-economic status and peer group. Three research questions were formulated to guide the study. It was a survey study with a target population of all JSS3 Social Studies students in all public secondary schools in Eket Local Government Area.

The representative sample consisted of 200 Social Studies JSS3 students selected by simple random sampling technique from four (4) public secondary schools in the research area. Two researcher–developed instruments, namely, Juvenile Delinquency,  Variables Questionnaire (JDVQ), and Social Studies Achievement Test (SSAT) which was the researchers made performance examination, was administered on the students so as to generate data for computation by use of simple percentage.

The results of the findings showed that school environment, parental socio-economic status and peer group are significant determinants of students’ academic performance in Social Studies. Based on the result of these findings, it was recommended, among others, that good employment opportunities be opened for qualified parents to uplift their socio-economic status so that families can live above poverty line, so as to check students’ vices.

Juvenile Delinquency and Students’ Academic Performance in Social Studies in Junior Secondary Schools



1.1    Background of the Study

Social Studies is the integrated study of the Social sciences and humanities to promote civic competence. Social Studies is most commonly reorganized as the name of a course or set of courses taught in primary and junior secondary schools or elementary middle and secondary schools, but may also refer to the study of aspects of human society at certain post-secondary and tertiary schools around the globe (Adetoro, 1999). At the elementary school level, Social Studies curriculum becomes more discipline based and context specific. It varies greatly as a subject between countries and its curricula is not synonymous with sociology or social science. It is a precursor for the fields of history and geography respectively.

According to Omebe (2002) Social studies as an area of study is relatively new in Nigeria educational system having first been introduced in 1958 but limited to part of former Western Nigeria. It gained popular acclaim and acceptance especially in view of its role in citizenship education, national integration, political socialization, positive personality development and increased tolerance and accommodation of alien cultures. Social Studies is the investigation of the totality of human activities. It is a field of study which a society uses to instill in learners the needed knowledge, skills, values, attitudes and actions concerning the relationships human beings have with each other, their world and themselves (Adaralegbe, 2002). Social Studies investigate human activity, it studies man at home, at work, at workshop, in politics, at play, in the village, in the nation, and everywhere he is engaged in busy programme of living.

Jiboku (1999) described Social Studies as those common learning of mans’ interaction with his social and physical environment, it is not only a study but a way of life of how man influences and is influenced by his physical, social, political, economic, psychological and cultural environments. These definitions portray Social Studies as a subject of knowledge and social utilization of knowledge, inculcation of cultural behaviour, knowledge, skills and desirable values and attitudes without ignoring anyone’s aspect and also as a tool for effective citizenship. According to Ogundele (2008) there is widespread agreement that the appropriate aim of Social Studies in “citizenship education” or preparing of young people so that they possess the knowledge skills and values necessary for active participation in society.

A juvenile is a prepubescent child, which in essence means a person not legally of age, or who is younger than may be charged with an offence. He is a person who is typically below 18years and commits an act that otherwise would have been charged as a crime in a court of competent jurisdiction of he was an adult (Lipsey and Derzon, 1998). On the other hand, delinquency refers to the wrong behaviour or act of a person who is usually under the age of 18years who receives the protection of the court.

Accoding to Merlde (2003) juvenile crimes can range from status offences (such as underage smoking) to property crimes and violent crimes. He asserted further that juvenile delinquency can be considered a normative adolescent behaviour and ascertained that they learn these habits they exhibit from the environment. The problem of this menace is that it should not be left to thrive in the society, as a way of life, so that other children may not imbibe it.

Juvenile delinquency is an age long problem and that of the past cannot be compared with that of the present (Ekpo, 2005). The point is that as the problem increases in leaps and bounds on daily basis, it becomes less manageable in view of our population growth, increase in technology and as many people concentrate into crowded metropolitan centres.

McCord, Widom and Crowell (2001) reported that there have been amazing increase in the rate of juvenile delinquency which can be gotten from the mass media, social welfare reports, juvenile court cases list, the general public, and statistics from the schools. Most of the time, there are debates on the media as to who to blame for this social act. This problem has assumed a national/global dimension and require thorough investigations.

McCord (2001) asserted that delinquents are made, not born. Many factors could be alluded to the poor state of this affair. Such factors could be traced to the school, the home, and the students’ personal variables. According to Durojaiye (1972) the school as a factor promotes examination malpractice, secret cult activities, drug abuse, truancy, acts of vandalism, breaking of rules and regulations, fighting, raping, prostitution and drunkenness, among others. He agreed with the opinion of stakeholders in educational enterprise who have long speculated that some teachers lack the necessary professional competence /skills and techniques required to communicate concepts, ideas and principles in a way that facilities effective learning of any school subject. So an idle mind is the devils’ workshop.

McCord (2001) opined that the home variables hold sway and named socio-economic status of parents which has resulted in poor parental skills, child maltreatment and parental aggression large family size which has resulted in poor parental supervision, parental conflicts and harsh punitive discipline, among other. The outstanding students’ variables, which according to Lipsey and Derzon (1998) is the peer group which they asserted that it is the key predictor for youth of 12-14years in anti-social activities.

The need has therefore arisen to investigate the impact of these variables – school, home and peer group – in influencing students’ academic performance in Social Studies. This is because of the believe that this deficiency has contributed significantly to the perceived growing rate of failure and subsequent dropout of students in junior secondary schools in Eket Local Government Area.

Juvenile Delinquency and Students’ Academic Performance in Social Studies in Junior Secondary Schools

1.2    Statement of the problem

Despite the importance of Social Studies as a tool for citizenship education, many problems seem to grip the society, among which is juvenile delinquency there is also the assumed consistent poor performance in public examinations such as the Junior Secondary School Certificate Examination.  Poor state of students’ performance is a multi-faceted problem that has beset the country for a very long time.

It is a well noted fact that poor academic performance of students in recent times has reached a worrisome dimension. Some see the home variable as the major factor, others think of the school variables, societal variables, students’ variable and so on, and on. As the list gets endless, one thing is certain, there is a problem. Hence, the choice of this research topic “Juvenile delinquency and students’ academic performance in Social Studies in junior secondary schools in Eket Local Government Area.

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Peter Hezekiah Lawson (Sir Pee). The CEO of onlineproject.com.ng. A reputable researcher, Web Developer, ICT Instructor and a publisher of many research works in Education.