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CULTURE OF IMPUNITY AMONG FINAL YEAR SENIOR HIGH SCHOOL (SHS) PUPILS. CAUSES, EFFECT AND POSSIBLE MEASURES.

Impunity refers to the situation of not being held accountable for an unacceptable behaviour or conduct in a particular jurisdiction.The culture of impunity could be explained as the phenomenon, feeling or believe, among a group of people, of being “above the law” and notbeing held responsible or accountable for an unacceptable act. This culture of impunity among final year SHS pupils has being with the education sector for quite some time now.Some instances recorded in recent years include vandalising of school properties, disrespectingand victimizing school authorities and tutors, breaking of boarding house rules (such as jumping school walls and disturbing peace in the dining hall), bullying of juniors and the list goes on and on.

This culture is on the rise in our country and some education experts have predicted that, the incidence will surge in the coming years if measures are not put in place to curb it. This situation is not affecting only schools but also the nation when looked at as a bigger picture.A survey conducted by some psychologists indicates a plethora of causes that drive these final year pupils into engaging in these unruly acts. Some of these “drivers” are discussed below.

The issue of Pride amongfinal year SHS pupils tend to be at its peak as they climax in their SHS education. Most a time, when students gets to their final year of SHS education, they tend to be so vibrant and feel “on top of the world”. They perceive their “seniorship” as life’s greatest rank ever attainable, forgetting that is just one of the rungs of life’s ladder.

The “fear” among school authorities of being victimised by these pupils should they step in their unruly paths. During the final year of most students, they become very aggressive and some go as far as indulging in drugs making them very violent. These attributes instil fear and panic into these authorities, thus leaving them with no other option than to stay out of such ungodly paths of these pupils.

Finally, these pupils tend to have the notion that assets of the school are acquired from the schools own coffers and that, they have the right to put them in jeopard and bring the school to its knees should the authorities try stopping them from any ill behaviour. They totally seem to forget that properties of their school are acquired using the tax payers’ sweat and it will take the same tax payer to put back such damaged properties back on their feet or replace them. Such incident occurred in one of the greatest and famous tertiary institutions right here in our country.

The effects of this culture are countless with some key ones not possible to be overlooked in this discussion. 

The academic performance of these pupils tends to be retrogressing by the day. Since they spend a lot of energy nurturing these ideologies of theirs, they barely make time to study their books.

These same pupils graduate from school and become notorious and unscrupulous personalities in our societies, battling well-meaning citizens and making our societies more than the devil’s hell.

They also cause financial loss to the state as a whole because in the case of free SHS, the government bares the tuition cost of pupils who in the long run, do not fulfil the essence of the money spent on their education.

In my own opinion, guidance and counselling both at home and in school can be a first step in the right direction. Awards should be presented to schools that put up the best of behaviours every year. This will serve as a motivation for the sister schools and possibly help reduce these menace or cut out this culture entirely. Also Such truant students should be arrested and prosecuted not only for damaging properties and threatening human lives but also for causing financial loss to the state under the free SHS scheme.

This culture of impunity among final year SHS students is not a heritable trait. It is a psychological and an adopted habit among SHS pupils. With strict measures and discipline, sanity can be restored.

Thank you.

Nancy Nana Eduaba A. Baafi

Anglican Senior High School

Amekom-Kumasi

(ARSRCWDS Organizing Secretary)

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