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The Influence of Deviant Behaviours on the Academic Achievement of Secondary School Students in Kumba 1 Sub-Division

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This research study entitled the ‘influence of Deviant behaviors on the academic achievements of secondary school students’ has as purpose to find out to what extent Deviant behaviours influences students’ academic achievements in Kumba 1 sub-division, Meme Division in the Southwest Region of Cameroon’.

Three hypotheses were used to guide the study. The objectives were to investigate the influence of physical bullying on students academic achievements, to examine the influence of absenteeism on students academic achievements and lastly to examine the influence of stealing on students academic achievements.

The instrument used was a questionnaire distributed to150 students from Form four and lower sixth in three secondary schools in the targeted area. The data obtained which was measured using the Pearson’s rank correlation shows the following results.

Firstly, there is a significant positive relationship between physical bullying and students’ academic achievement in the targeted secondary schools. Therefore, the null hypothesis which states that; there is no significant relationship between physical bullying and students’ academic achievement was rejected at P-value of 0.001 (P<0.05).

Also, there is a strong positive significant relationship between absenteeism and students academic achievement in the targeted secondary schools. Thus, the null hypothesis which states that; there is no significant relationship between absenteeism and students’ academic achievement was rejected at P-value of 0.000 (P<0.05).

Lastly, that there is a significant positive relationship between stealing and students academic achievement in the targeted secondary schools. Hence, the null hypothesis which states that; there is no significant relationship between stealing and students’ academic achievement was rejected at P-value of 0.000 (P<0.05).

It was concluded that deviant behaviours have significant influence on students’ academic achievement in the selected secondary schools in Kumba I Sub-Division. Based on the findings, the following recommendations were made; Physical Bullying:

Aggressive behaviors by students should be avoided/ prevented by school hierarchy so that students should not be able to harm their mates and teachers in school.

Absenteeism: School authorities should try not to prevent students from attending classes and avoid interrupting students’ classes in schools.  Stealing: Schools administrators should severely punish students who take their mates items without authorization after school learning periods.




This chapter focuses on the background of the study, statement of the problem, objectives of the study, research questions, research hypothesis, significance of the study, delimitation of the study, operational definition of terms and chapter summary.

Background of the Study

Education is globally accepted as a powerful tool for instilling desirable behaviour, positive values, skills and knowledge into learners. Parents send their children to school so that they can learn good morals and acquire skills and knowledge needed for them to be able to make maximum contribution to the development of self and their society.

While at school, students build relationships with their peers and their teachers that can foster the development of strong bonds that enhances the studying of good character.

All societies carry out sorting and classificatory actions, the way they view deviance changes over time for a variety of reasons that are sometimes unrelated to the behavior or its consequences (Moynihan 1993).

Also, some behaviors that were considered to be illnesses or crime at one time have been redefined in ways that remove them from the medical, psychological or legal professions’ guidelines for interpreting them as deviant behaviors e.g. homosexuality (Bowker & Star, 1999).

The achievements of students’ academic are partly influenced by their behavior and reaction to situations.

The 1700s – 1900 traced the history of Emotional Behavior Disorder by Benjamin Rush (1745-1813). In his book, Rush suggested that the mind was vulnerable to physical influences causing it to become diseased. Therefore, making a person “the involuntary vehicle of vicious actions, through the instrumentality of the passions,” (Rush, 1812).

Rush characteristically called this condition “moral derangement.” Some years later, Rush became the first physician to clinically categorize this behavior overcoming the religious condemnation of wickedness and satanic behavior (Gelb, 1989).

Historically, in the Cameroonian educational system, children have many times suffered from psycho-social and handicapping conditions such as a lack of understanding and empathy from teachers, administrators and their peers.

In his analysis of the Cameroonian educational system, Tambo (2005) opined that, “schools in Cameroon provide a solace where children escape the realities of the home and community from which they come. These harsh realities have made for a devastating impression on the psyche of the students which may explain the social deviance and low performance of pupils”.

Consistent with this perception, the number of students with deviant behaviors has been observed to be increasing rapidly. Of those students, however, the ones most likely to be misunderstood are those with deviant behaviors and disruptive behaviors.

In recent years, increasing evidence also has established the negative academic outcomes typical of this population. For example, students with BD earn lower grades, are less likely to pass classes, and experience higher rates of school dropout than typical students and students with other high incidence disabilities (Wagner and Cameto 2004).

Researchers also have examined how students with BD progress over time. Unfortunately, the literature consistently indicates that students with co-morbid BD and academic deficits do not improve over time (Anderson. 2001; Nelson, 2004).

However, details on what actually occurs in the academic development of these students are inconsistent. Some studies have indicated that academic deficits remain stable over time (Anderson 2001) while there is evidence indicating that, for some students, academic deficits become worse as they age.

Deviant behavior no doubt, affects the academic achievement of students negatively. According to Uzor (2000), children who exhibit behavior deviation, are often times prone to poor academic performance than children who behave well in the society.

Students who are disrespectful to the normal societal behaviors do not see learning activity as something with devoting time for.

Rather, as their normal characteristics, they tend to disregard serious learning activity and this has often translated in their poor or dismal academic outcomes. Shaw (2001) is of the opinion that students should not be distracted in their focus on learning.

He opines that individuals who are given deviant behaviors are also distracted from proper and serious learning activities in schools. According to him, those who disregard and disrespect the laid down rules and regulations of the school, do so at their academic peril.

Nwaka (2004) added that, students’ academic performance has a negative correlation with deviant behavior. According to her, students who do not regard the instructions of their parents, teachers and adult members of the society, hardly make it in life especially their academic goal.

In everyday language, to deviate means to stray from an accepted path. Many sociological definitions of deviance simply elaborate upon this idea.

Thus, deviance consists of those acts which do not follow the norms and expectations of a particular social group or society (Arnolds, 2005). In practice, a field of study covered by the sociology of deviance is usually limited to deviance which results in negative sanctions.

Infect, the American Sociologist Marshal (2000), has suggested that the term deviance, should be reserved for those situations in which behavior is in disapproved direction and of a sufficient degree to exceed the tolerance limit of the community.

Recently, there has been increasing concern in the tertiary institutions that students’ behaviors have deteriorated.

The most concerning behaviors for teachers are those that involve minor violations of rules and regulations, disruption to the smooth running of the classroom. Violent behavior in schools is also a major concern of most teachers, although, extreme incidents of school violence are a global phenomenon (Infantino and Little, 2004).

There is considerable evidence that those students who are deviate are not regular in school for whatever reason, have limited lifetime opportunities, socially, professionally and economically (Reid, 2004).

They are more likely to experience unemployment, underemployment and long term dependency. Deviant behavior like poor attendance to classes is a major source of discontent among teachers and it hinders teaching and learning (Macbeath, 2005).

Teachers are often frustrated by the persistent non-attendance of certain students, particularly as helping them to catch-up takes time and distracts from teaching the remainder of the class. Students who are deviant in school fall behind in their work and frequently have difficulties within friendship, McCarthy (2005).

According to Owuamanam (2003), deviant behaviors refer to the problem of wrong doing by young persons. It involves the problem of truancy, absenteeism, stealing, vandalism, drug abuse, use and addict, terrorism, disobedience to laid down rules and regulations of the school authorities, including other behaviors that are against the social norms.

The study of deviant behavior in our secondary school and other institutions of learning, has assumed greater attention.

For some time now, especially in the last decade, it has become a common feature in our secondary schools and universities to see students engage in street fighting, sports hooliganism or carry out violent acts, and in the process engage in wanton destruction of life and properties.

In our society, academic achievement is considered a key criterion to judge one’s total potentiality and capability. It is seen as a student’s grade point averages in many academic settings. Academic achievement has become an index of students’ future in this highly competitive world and agricultural education is no exception.

Education, in its broadest sense, may be defined as a process designed to inculcate the knowledge, skills and attitudes necessary to enable individuals to cope effectively with their environment.

Its primary purpose is to foster and promote the fullest individual self realization for all people. Achievement of the goals of secondary school education largely depends on the positive disposition of students in their academic work and the instructional performance of teachers.

A major task facing educational administrators is the continuous existence of the problem of dropout, deviant behaviors, examination malpractice, lateness and poor academic performance among students. Records showed that most of the students involved in cultism in higher institutions started it in their secondary school days.

Cameroonians cannot remain complacent when large human and material resources are wasted, indiscipline is rampant, and an atmosphere of insecurity, frustration and instability are created in schools leading to ineffective learning.

Student-student relationships (peer-group) influences students’ behavior as a result of unpleasant and unsustainable environment in which students’ needs are difficult to meet and school curriculum is seen useless because it was adopted from the needs of the colonial masters of Cameroon.

Secondary education in Cameroon is meant at preparing the learners for valuable living conditions within the society and training for further education.

In order to live a valuable life within any given community and contribute towards the social, economic, and political development of the nation, the appropriate skills, values, attitudes, knowledge, and competencies must be impacted into the individual. Stakeholders have experienced magnificent increase in students’ indiscipline in secondary schools in Cameroon.

Contextually, be it deviant behaviors, disruptive behaviors, or emotional and Behavioral Disorders strongly affect the academic achievement of students who suffer from the behavioral inconsistencies.

This is because students with deviant behaviors are often regarded as more difficult students to teach than students with other kinds of problems and are more likely to be (a) under identified, (b) recommended for exclusion from general education settings and (c) found to attain marginal or unsatisfactory educational outcomes.

Of all students in disability categories, students with deviant behaviors have the lowest grade-point averages (Alexander & Olson, 2005). Almost one-half of students characterized as deviant behaviors have poor academic achievement and have failed at least one subject/course in the most recent school year.

A majority of deviant behaviors students fail their yearly promotion examinations. Perhaps contributing to the low achievement level is the rate of absenteeism, which is higher than students of any other disability, at an average of 18 days (yearly) (Petras, Masyn, Buckley, Ialongo, & Kellam, 2011).

Denga (1999) in his study identified indiscipline problems such as stealing, truancy, sexual offence, vandalism and cheating as destructive practices. The percentage of students, who drop out of school in most urban and rural areas of Cameroon, is on an increase.

In the Cameroon secondary schools recently there is high rate of deviant behaviors like stabbing of teachers, killing of school mates, drug abuse and examination malpractice. These students cultivate and demonstrate deviant behaviors and may never fulfill their potentials and they become burdens to the society.

There is an outcry of Cameroon educators, administrators and parents about the increasing rate of deviant behavior in Cameroon secondary schools. This observation unsettles the mind of patriotic Cameroonian since children are considered the future leaders of the country.

Agbenyega (2006) retains that decent behavior is one of the key attributes of effective schools and most school which experienced frequent deviant students’ behavior have been blamed on lack of effective implementation of school rules and regulations for discipline to reign in school.

One can say that discipline comes through effective management of an organization. Indiscipline on the other hand is any act that diverges from the acceptable societal norms and values.

It is a violation of school rules and regulations which is capable of obstructing the smooth and orderly functioning of the school system (Edem, 1982). An undisciplined child is an uncontrollable child and can do any damage in school when he does not get what he wants (Asiyai, 2012).

Theoretically, students with deviant behaviors elicit rejection and tension from others such as teachers or same aged peers (Hankin, Stone & Wright, 2010). When students behave in ways that are inconsistent with social expectations, teachers and peers may react negatively to those students. This creates a challenging environment for students, teachers, and peers.

Not knowing how best to help those students, teachers may avoid spending time with them and may refer them elsewhere in the school, such as to a specialist or the principal. Similarly, peers may not know how to converse or interact with the problematic students, so the peers may also avoid contact with those students.

Consequently, without additional support from the teachers and peers, the problematic students become isolated and less engaged, miss opportunities to experience successful relationships, and have fewer opportunities to learn from their teachers and peers (Arnold, 1997, Dobbs, & Doctoroff, 2006).

This pattern prevents an optimal learning environment and limits the efficacy of the teacher’s classroom instruction. To effectively substantiate concepts and results emerging from this study, the study anchored on three psychological theories:

The Social Learning Theory (SLT) by Albert Bandura (1977), this theory emphasizes the importance of observing, modeling, and imitating the behaviors, attitudes, and emotional reactions of others.

Social learning considers how both environmental and cognitive factors interact to influence human learning and behavior, Rational Emotive Behavioral Theory (REBT) by Albert Ellis (1950).

This therapy is a type of therapy that helps the learner identifies irrational beliefs and negative thought patterns that may lead to emotional or behavioral issues and Planned Behavior theory (PBT) by Icek Ajzen (1989).

This theory states that the intension to perform a certain behavior is dependent on whether individuals evaluate the behavior as good (positive attitudes) but if others judges and warn them not to perform the behavior it seen as a subjective norm.

These theories aimed at guiding the researcher in understanding the concept of deviant behavior since it is a psychological concept. Both outlined theories clearly explain student’s behavior within the school and society and the various psychological underpinning emerging from particular exhibited behavioral patterns.

These theories where chosen because of their relevant discussion about the cognitive and emotional needs of a child for psychological balance to enhance studies.

They also look at the environment and its interaction to the child which is an important factor of motivation for a better behavior for study which will avoid the occurrence of deviance in students.

Statement of the Problem

The academic achievement of students is the paramount priority of every educational institution in the country. Technological advancement, rules and regulations put in place are expected to control learners’ behavior and improve academic achievement.

During teaching practice, I observed that there was high rate of indiscipline in school environment manifesting in the form of fighting among students, scaling the fence, late coming to school, absenteeism, disrespect of school authorities and disobedience to school rules and regulations.

The resultant effect is the general increase in school dropout and educational wastage because learners have low interest for schooling.

Despite efforts made by the government to open guidance and counselling services in secondary schools to reduce counsellor-counsellee ratio by posting a resident counsellor to each school and the increase in the number of discipline masters, these phenomenon of low academic achievement, indiscipline and educational wastage is still a call for concern.

This dilemma pushes the researcher to embark on the investigation if deviant behaviours has an influence on students’ academic achievements in secondary schools in Kumba 1 sub-division.  

Research Objectives

General Research Objective

To assess the influence of deviant behaviours on students’ academic achievements

Specific Research Objectives

To examine the influence of physical bullying on students academic achievements

To examine the influence of absenteeism on students academic achievements

To examine the influence of stealing on students academic achievements Research Questions

General Research Question

To what extend does deviant behaviours influence students’ academic achievements?

Specific Research Questions

  • How does physical bullying influence students’ academic achievements?
  • How does absenteeism influence students’ academic achievements?
  • To what extend does stealing influence students’ academic achievements?

The Influence of Deviant Behaviours on the Academic Achievement of Secondary School Students in Kumba 1 Sub-Division

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