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JOURNAL OF RESEARCH IN NATIONAL DEVELOPMENT VOLUME 8 NO 1, JUNE, 2010


MANAGING STUDENTS’ CRISIS IN TERTIARY INSTITUTIONS IN NIGERIA

T.O. Adeyemi
E-mail: toade1957@yahoo.com
and
Haastrup T. Ekundayo
Department of Educational Foundations & Management, University of Ado-Ekiti, Ado-Ekiti
E-mail: haastrupt2006@yahoo.com
and
H. O. Alonge
National Teachers’ Institute, Okitipupa Study Centre, Okitipupa, Nigeria
E-mail:alohezek@yahoo.com



Abstract
This paper examined the management of crisis in tertiary institutions in Ondo State, Nigeria. As a descriptive study, the population comprised all lecturers and students of the 5 tertiary institutions in the state. A sample of 520 students and 240 lecturers was selected through the process of stratified random sampling from two institutions viz: Adekunle Ajasin University, Akungba-Akoko and Rufus Giwa Polytechnic, Owo. A self-designed instrument tagged “students’ crisis in Tertiary Institutions Questionnaire [SCTIQ]” was used to collect the data for the study. The instrument was validated by research experts in Educational Foundations and Management Department and Test & Measurement Department of the University of Ado-Ekiti. A test-retest method was used to determine the reliability of the instrument. A reliability coefficient of 0.83 was got. Frequency counts, simple percentage, Pearson product moment correlation and t-test statistic were to analyse the data collected. Five research questions were raised and three hypotheses generated. The hypotheses raised were tested at 0.05 level of significance. Findings from the study showed that the level of students’ crisis in Ondo State was low in recent time. The study revealed that students’ crisis occurred as a result of institutions’ authority forcing students to pay special level; Drastic and obnoxious rules and regulation; failure on the part of the school authority to guarantee security of lives and properties in campuses; wide communication gap between authority and students and inadequate facilities. The effect of students crisis were loss of lives and properties; closure of schools. The study further revealed that maintaining cordial relationship between school authority and students as well as involving students in decision making are the most effective ways of curbing students’ crisis in schools. The study also revealed a significant relationship between causes of students’ crisis and effect of students’ crisis. It was revealed in the study that there was a significant relationship between causes of students’ crisis and the management strategies put in place to curb the crisis. Based on the findings, it was recommended that school authorities should be more democratic in handling students’ affair and also involve students in decision making process. It was again recommended that institutions’ authority should always focus more on preventive strategies in order to reduce crisis rather than curative measures.

Keywords: Students’ crisis, tertiary institutions, management, strategies


Introduction
The main aim of higher education in Nigeria is to give very sound and qualitative education which will enable individual to function effectively in any environment in which he finds himself. The National Policy on Education [2004] highlighted the aims of higher education as the acquisition development and inculcation of the proper value orientation for the survival of the individual and society; the development of the intellectual capacities of individuals to understand and appreciate their environments; the acquisition of both physical and intellectual skills which will enable individuals to develop into useful members of the community; and the acquisition of an objective view of the local and external environments.

According to Magagula (2007), the general mandate of tertiary institutions is to generate knowledge and information through teaching and community service. Magagula argued that the basic functions of tertiary institutions are to teach students and others knowledge, critical and analytical skills, appropriate values, norms and attitudes; create and extend the frontiers of knowledge through research; interrogate existing knowledge with a view to establish ‘facts’ and ‘truths’ through critical reflection and objective thinking; and improve the quality of life of community members through community service initiatives.

The importance of tertiary education to the national development cannot be overemphasized. However, no meaningful development can take place in a crisis-ridden system torn apart by crisis as witnessed in the educational institutions in the country today. 

Experience has shown that students’ crisis is as old as the tertiary institutions in Nigeria itself. Today, students’ militancy in the nation’s tertiary institutions has come to be a very issue of serious concern. However, revolts, protests, unrests and violence, as well as incessant closure of schools for months in the wake of unrest have become a regular characteristic of Nigerian’s tertiary institutions.

According to Aluede, Jimoh, Agwinde and Omoregie (2005) incidence of students unrest in Nigeria showed that in 1981, there was crisis in Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria where students died and the vice-chancellor of the university dismissed; in 1984, many tertiary institutions rioted over the proposed introduction of tuition fees and the scrapping of catering services. This led to the closure of many universities for months; in 1988, students rioted over the removal of subsidy from petroleum and allied products, this also led to the closure of many tertiary institutions for a period of six months, the introduction of the Structural Adjustment Programme (SAP) also generated crisis in many tertiary institutions in Nigeria. In 2003, there was crisis in almost all the tertiary institutions in Nigeria as a result of increase in the prices of petroleum products.

Literature review
Crisis, according to Fajana (1990) is the art of violence resulting from dissatisfaction or a situation of disagreement between two parties. It is the state of disharmony that is brought about by differences of impulses, desires, or tendencies (Rayeshi & Bryant, 1994). It occurs when there is tension or when people intend to revolt against social ills or irregularities in an organisation. Denga (1982) listed the reasons that precipitate students’ unrest in schools as non-participation of students in decision-making processes; academic stress; welfare problems brought about by lack of basic amenities among others. Thus in the school setting, students tend to show their displeasure through agitation, protest, demonstrations and so on.

Crisis in tertiary institutions, over the years, have led to breakdown of law and order, disturbance of public peace, loss of lives and properties. Aluede, Jimoh , Agwinede & Omoregie (2005) identified the effect of student crisis as closure of affected schools; loss of lives and properties among others.

Crisis management in schools demands appropriate leadership style of the school administrator or chief executive, Demers in Magaula (2007) articulated three strategies of peaceful crisis resolution between and among warring parties; mediation, arbitration and reconciliation; Magagula (2007) also argued that each of the approaches of Demers could be used by universities to resolve crisis among and between aggrieved parties. Ojo (1995) listed various ways of crisis resolution as problem-solving; prevention and avoidance; expansion of opportunities and resources; use of authority and command; changing the behaviour of peoples involved in conflict through conscious appeal; behaviour modification strategies, better communication; reduction of mistrust through dialogue and improved human relations; changing the structure of the organisation and compromise and agreement style.

Ladipo (1997) posited that in order to stamp out crisis from schools, there should be effective leadership among school authorities. Also Aluede (2001) recommended, among other things, greater involvement of students in decision-making processes as a way of reducing campus unrest.

However, in the work in Mohamedbhai as cited Magagula (2007), universities can offer stand alone courses on conflict management and resolution, peace education, civic education, good governance, basic and human rights, separation of powers of government, the legislature, and the judiciary, bill of rights, social justice, respect and the rule of law, and virtues of peace, tolerance, patience and respect for life etc for all members of society. Alternatively the author argued that the university authorities can integrate all these into regular courses of subjects across disciplines, not just in social sciences and humanities in this arrangement, all graduates of universities could have a dose of peace and civic education as well as conflict prevention, management and resolution.

It has been observed that students’ crisis is becoming more rampant in the tertiary institutions and the resultant consequence has been to the detriment of the teaching – learning atmosphere. It is against this backdrop that this paper is set to look at the ways of managing students’ crisis in tertiary institutions in Ondo State.

Research questions
The following research questions have been raised to pilot the study:

  1. What is the level of students’ crisis in the tertiary institutions in Ondo State?
  2. What are the causes of students’ crisis in universities and polytechnics in Ondo State?
  3. What are the effects of students’ crisis in tertiary institutions in Ondo State?
  4. What are the strategies adopted by management of tertiary institutions in Ondo State to curb students’ crisis?
  5. How effective are the strategies adopted by management of tertiary institutions in Ondo State to curb student crisis?

Research hypotheses
Aside the research questions raised, the following research hypotheses have been formulated to also pilot the study.

  1. There is no significant difference between the causes of students’ crisis in the universities and the polytechnic in Ondo State.
  2. There is no significant relationship between causes of students’ crisis and effect of students’ crisis and effect of students’ crisis in Ondo state tertiary institutions.
  3. There is no significant relationship between causes of students’ crisis and management strategies used to curb students’ crisis.

Methodology
A descriptive survey design was used for the study. The population consisted of all students and lecturers in all the tertiary institutions in Ondo State. A total of five hundred and twenty students and two hundred and forty lecturers were randomly selected from two tertiary institutions in the state, namely; Adekunle Ajasin University Akungba Akoko and Rufus Giwa Polytechnic, Owo.

A self-structured questionnaire tagged “Students’ Crisis in Tertiary Institution Questionnaire (SCTIQ)” was used to collect relevant data for the study. Section A of the instrument sought, aside the bio-data section of the respondent, information on the level and causes of students’ crisis while Section B sought information on the effect of students’ crisis while Section C sought information on the strategies adopted by the management of tertiary institution to curb students’ crisis and the effectiveness of the strategies.

Research experts in the Departments of Educational Foundations and Management and Tests and Measurements, Faculty of Education, University of Ado-Ekiti validated the instrument. The test-retest method of reliability was used to determine the reliability of the instrument and the reliability co-efficient stood at 0.82. The data collected for the study were analysed using frequency counts, simple percentage, Pearson Product Moment Correlation and the t-test statistic. All the hypotheses were tested at 0.05 level of significance.

Results
The results of the study are presented here under:

Research question 1: What is the level of students’ crisis in tertiary institutions in Ondo State?


 

 

 

 

Table 1: Level of students’ crisis in tertiary institutions in ondo state.


Years

N

High

%

Moderate

%

Low

%

2001

760

90

11.8

470

61.8

200

26.3

2002

760

190

25.0

350

46.1

220

28.9

2003

760

241

31.7

273

35.9

246

32.4

2004

760

98

12.9

282

37.1

380

50.0

2005

760

72

9.5

278

36.6

410

53.9

2006

760

104

13.7

281

36.9

375

49.3

    


Results in table 1 showed that the level of students’ crisis in tertiary institutions in Ondo State varies from year to year. In years 2001, 2002 and 2003 the level was moderate as indicated by 470(61.8%), 350(46.1%) and 273(35.9%) of the respondents. However in years 2004, 2005 and 2006, the levels were very low as indicated by 380(50.0%); 410(53.9%) and 375(49.3%) of the respondents respectively. It can be concluded that the level of students’ crisis in the tertiary institutions was low in the recent times.

Research question 2: What are the causes of students’ crisis in tertiary institutions in Ondo State?
To answer this research question, data on causes of students’ crisis were collected from sampled lecturers and students. The result is as presented below:


Table 2: Causes of students’ crisis in tertiary institutions in Ondo State.


S/N

Causes of students’ crisis

N

Agree

%

Disagree

%

1.

Wide communication gap between students and the school authority.

760

630

82.9

130

17.1

2.

Delay in meeting students’ demand by the school authority.

760

623

82.0

137

18.0

3.

Failure on the part of the school authority to guarantee security of lives and properties.

760

675

88.8

85

11.2

4.

Inadequate facilities such as lecture rooms, laboratories and equipment.

760

639

84.1

121

15.9

5.

Drastic and obnoxious rules and regulations.

760

580

89.5

80

10.5

6.

Students’ reaction to harsh government policies.

760

479

63.0

281

37.0

7.

Frustration and uncertainty from the larger society.

760

479

63.0

281

37.0

8.

Academic stress.

760

411

54.1

349

45.9

9.

Students’ non-involvement in decision that concern their welfare.

760

623

82.0

137

18.0

10.

Students being forced to pay a special fee.

760

684

90.0

76

10.0


From table 2, the responses showed that the major causes of students crisis in tertiary institutions are forcing students to pay special levy. 684 of the respondents (90.0%) attested to this; Drastic and Obnoxious rules and regulations (89.5%); failure on the part of the school authority to guarantee security of lives and properties (88.8%). Other causes include wide communication gap between students and the school authority (82.9%); inadequate facilities (84.1%), Delay in meeting students’ demand (82.0%); students non-involvement in decisions that concern their welfare (82.0%). Others are students’ reaction to harsh government policies (63.0%); Frustration and uncertainty from large society (63.0%) and Academic stress (54.1%).

Research question 3: What are the effects of students’ crisis in tertiary institutions in Ondo State?

In answering this question, data on the effects of students’ crisis in tertiary institutions were collected from the responses to the questionnaire and analysed with the use of percentages. The findings are indicated in table 3.


Table 3: Effects of students’ crisis in tertiary institutions.


S/N

Effects of students’ crisis

N

Agree

%

Disagree

%

1.

Closure of schools

760

616

81.0

144

19.0

2.

Loss of lives and properties

760

646

85.0

114

15.0

3.

Elongation of period of study 

760

593

78.0

167

22.0

4.

Punishment to the erring students 

760

532

70.0

228

30.0

5.

Penalty to all students such as payment of caution fees.

760

600

79.0

160

21.0


From table 3, it is shown that both the lecturers and the students agreed overwhelmingly that the loss of lives and properties is one major effect of students’ crisis in tertiary institutions. 646 respondents (85.0%) attested to this fact. Other effects of students’ crisis include closure of the affected institutions (81.0%); award of penalty to all students of the institution such as payment of caution fees (79.0%); elongation of period of study (78.0%) and punishment to the erring students (70.0%).

 

Research question 4: What are the strategies adopted by management of tertiary institutions in Ondo State to curb students’ crisis?

In addressing this question, data on responses from the questionnaire on the management strategies for resolving students’ crisis were collected and analysed using percentages as presented in table 4.


 
Table 4: Crisis management strategies


S/N

Crisis Management Strategies

N

Agree

%

Disagree

%

1.

Call students for dialogue

760

630

82.9

130

17.1

2.

Maintain a very cordial relationship between students and authority.

760

700

92.1

60

7.9

3.

Involve students in decision-making process in schools.

760

700

92.1

60

7.9

4.

Invite the police to campus to quench riot.

760

228

37.9

472

62.1

5.

Involve students counseling units.

760

680

80.0

152

20.0


Table 4 showed the responses of the respondents on the items of crisis management in tertiary institutions. Prominent among the strategies were maintenance of a very cordial relationship between students and authority (92.1%) and involvement of students in decision making (92.1%), other strategies include call students for dialogue (82.9%) and involvement of students counseling units (80.0%). However, the respondents disagreed greatly on the fact that the police should be invited to quell riots in school. 472 respondents (62.1%) disagreed to this assertion.

 

Research question 5: How effective are the strategies adopted by management of tertiary institutions in Ondo State to curb students’ crisis.

To answer this research question, data on responses from the questionnaire on the effectiveness of the management strategies were collected and analysed. Table 5 revealed the findings.


Table 5: Effectiveness of crisis management strategies


S/N

Crisis Management Strategies

N

Effective

%

Not Effective

%

1.

Call students for dialogue

760

703

92.5

57

7.5

2.

Maintain a very cordial relationship between students authority.

760

728

95.8

32

4.2

3.

Involve students in decision making process in schools.

760

724

95.3

36

4.7

4.

Invite the police to schools to quell riots.

760

220

28.9

540

71.1

5.

Involve students counseling unites.

760

360

47.4

400

52.6


Responses on table 5 showed that maintaining a very cordial relationship between the students and the institution’s authority happened to be the most effective crises management strategy. 728 respondents [95.8%] attested to this. Another effective instrument is involving students in decision – making process in schools [95.3%]. Others include; call the students for dialogue [92.5%]. However, the respondents believed that involve students counseling unit and inviting the police to quell riots have not been effective crises management strategies [47.4%] and 28.9% respectively.

Research hypotheses:
Hypothesis 1: There is no significant difference between the causes of students’ crisis in the universities and the polytechnic in Ondo State.


 
Table 6: t-test showing causes of students’ crisis in tertiary institutions in Ondo State.


Group

N

X

SD

df

t-cal

t-tab

Result

University

360

43.30

6.18

758

24.889

1.96

Significant

Polytechnic

400

30.15

8.32

P < 0.05


The result in table 6 revealed that t-cal [24.889] is greater than t – table (1.96) at 0.05 level of significant difference in the causes of students’ crisis between students in the university and those of the polytechnics. The occurrence of students’ crisis was higher in the university as reflected by the higher mean of 43.30 than in the polytechnic.

Hypothesis 2: There is no significant relationship between causes of students’ crisis and effect of students’ crisis in Ondo State tertiary institutions.


Table 7:           Pearson production moment correlation summary of causes and effects of students’ crisis

Variables

N

r-cal

r-tab

Result

Causes of students’ crisis

760

0.497

0.195

significant

Effects of students’ crisis

760

P<0.05


The result in table 7 revealed that r-cal (0.497) is greater than r-table (0.195) at 0.05 level of significance. The null hypothesis is therefore rejected. It implies there is significant relationship between the causes of students’ crisis and effects of students’ crisis in tertiary institutions in Ondo State.

Hypothesis 3: There is no significant relationship between the causes of students’ crisis and the management strategies used to curb crisis.


 

 

Table 8: Pearson product moment correlation summary of causes of students’ crisis and management strategies

Variables

N

r-cal

r-tab

Result

Causes of Students’ crisis

760

0.546

0.195

significant

Management strategies

760

P<0.05


The result in table 8 revealed that (0.546) is greater than r-table (0.195) at 0.05 level of significant. The null hypothesis is therefore rejected. This implies that there is significant relationship between the causes of students’ crisis and the management strategies used to curb the crisis. 
 
Discussion
The study revealed that the level of students’ crisis in tertiary institutions in Ondo State was moderate in recent time. The study further revealed that students’ crisis occurred as a result of institution’s management forcing students to pay special levy; Drastic and obnoxious rules and regulation; failure on the part of the school authority to guarantee security of lives and properties in the campuses. Other causes of crisis as found out that in the study include; wide communication gap between the school authority and the students; inadequate facilities on campuses; Delay in meeting students’ needs; students non-involvement in decision making process. This finding supports Rayeski & Bryant (1994).

It was also found out in the study that the effect of students’ crisis in tertiary institutions include; loss of live and properties; closure of schools; award of penalty to all students of the institution; elongation of period of study and punishment to the erring students. This finding agreed with that of Aluede et al (2005).

The study also revealed the various strategies that can be put in place to curb students’ crisis among which are maintaining a cordial relationship between school authority and students; involving students in decision making process in the institutions. This finding agreed with Ojo [1995] who submitted that greater involvement of students in decision – making would help reduce the frequency of campus unrest. Calling students for dialogue was also found out to be a way of managing students’ crisis in tertiary institutions. However, a reasonable percentage of the respondents disagreed with the fact that the police should be invited to curb crisis in the campuses.

The study further revealed that maintaining a very cordial relationship between the school authority and the students as well as involving students in decision making process have been the most effective strategies of curbing students’ crisis. Another effective way of curbing students’ crisis according to the study is calling students for dialogue. On the contrary, the use of counseling unit and inviting the police has not been very effective as found out in the study.
It was also found out in the study that there was a significant difference in the causes of students’ crisis between the students of the university and those of the polytechnic with the university having higher occurrence than the polytechnic. This might be as a result of the different situations in the tertiary institutions in terms of the nature of students, resources, leadership, students’ unionism and so on.

Again the study showed a significant relationship between causes of students’ crisis and effect of students’ crisis, as well as a significant relationship between the causes of students’ crisis and the management strategies put in place to curb the crisis.

Conclusion and Recommendations
Based on the findings of this study, it can be concluded that students in tertiary institutions in Ondo State engaged in crisis because of one reason or the other. Nevertheless, the outcomes of such crisis were not beneficial to the students, the institutions and the society at large. It can also be concluded that maintaining a cordial relationship between students and school authority and involving students in decision making process in school appeared to be the most effective strategies for resolving crisis in tertiary institutions.

Considering the findings, it is therefore recommended that the school authorities should be more democratic in handling students’ affair; involve students in decision-making process especially on issues that borders on them. Again, it is recommended that authorities of these various institutions should always embark or focus more on preventive strategies in order to reduce crisis in schools rather than curative measures.

References
Aluede, O. O. (2001). Factors influencing Students unrest in tertiary institutions in Edo State of Nigeria. Education Research Quarterly. 24(3) 10-26.

Aluede, O. O; Jimoh, B.; Agwinede, B.O; and Omoregie, E. O. (2005). Students unrest in Nigerian Universities: Looking back and forward. Journal of Social Science 10(1) 17-22.

Denga, D. I. (1982). Student Counselling: A major solutions to campus unrest. Lagos. Orit Egwa Limited.

Fajana, S. (1990). Conflict tactics and strategies of Nigeria in trade union convergence, Diversity and Implication. Nigerian Journal of Personnel Management (4) 8 – 12.

Federal Republic of Nigeria (2004). National Policy on Education. Lagos: National Research Development Council Press.

Ladipo, M (1997). Crisis Management: the expertise of Nigerian universities. Paper presented at the 1997 annual conference of the association of Nigerian universities professional administration.

Magagula, C.M. (2007). Conflict resolution and management: The role of African higher education institutions. Paper presented at a seminar celebrating the African university day at the University of Swaziland, Kwaluseni. 15th November.

Ojuo, J. D. (1995). Students unrest in Nigerian universities. A legal and historical approach. Lagos: spectrum book Ltd.

Rayeski, E & Bryant, J. D. (1994). Team resolution process: A guideline for teams to manage conflict, performance, and discipline. In M. Beyerlein & M. Bulloock [Eds], The International conference on work teams processing: anniversary collection. The best of 1990-1994 (215-221). Dention: Universities of North Texas, Center for the Study of work teams.