The perception of teachers and students on the impact of indicipline on students academic performance. A case study of public secondary schools in Kasungu district Malawi.
Aim: The purpose of this study was to explore the perception of teachers and students on the impact of indiscipline on academic performance of students in public secondary schools in Malawi. Theory: The social learning theory of Albert Bandura guided this research. It emphasizes the importance of observing, modelling, and imitating the behaviours, attitudes, and emotional reactions of others. Method: The study used a qualitative approach based on convenience sampling whereby semi structured interviews were held with eight teachers while focus group was done with 16 students from four secondary schools in Kasungu District. Results: The interviewed teachers and students foreground indiscipline in the form of absenteeism, fighting, rudeness to teachers, late reporting, truancy, noise making in and outside the classroom, promiscuity, and stealing, among other things. The interviewed teachers believe that indiscipline in schools has a detrimental impact on learning and disrupts the learning environment. They also think that abolition of corporal punishment has contributed to increase in indiscipline in most of the secondary schools. On the other hand the focus group with students revealed that behaviour among teachers, such as drunkenness, sexual relationship with students as well as lateness and absenteeism trigger indiscipline in schools. They also note that failure to address students complaints and grievances contribute to students misbehaviour and vandalism. Students complained that they are given hard punishments which do not much with the offence committed. This research concludes that both students and teachers have a role to play to curb indiscipline in schools. The study recommends that Moral education should be emphasized in schools. Head teachers should devise effective staff training strategies in aid of school discipline, with disciplinary committees also being tasked with setting targets and monitoring progress that school staff collectively and individually make towards achieving a peaceful, respectful and conflict-free education environment.