RIOTS AND DEMONSTRATIONS

Sometimes a situation is reached in a school where the together to prevent the normal order of the school by refusing to do what they are expected to do or by refusing to obey the Head of the school and the teachers in agitation for or against one thing or the other. When such a situation is reached in a school, it can be said that Law and Order have broken down in the school. It therefore needs an outside body like the Ministry of Education, the Police or the Government to intervene in order to restore the school to its normal position where the students obey the Head of the School and the teachers. It is a situation like this that is called a riot or demonstration in a school.

CAUSES OF RIOTS AND DEMONSTRATIONS

There are a variety of reasons why students riot and demonstrate in schools. Prominent among these reasons are:

  1. Mismanagement of the School
  2. Poor feeding
  3. Poor Staffing
  4. Refusal to do examinations
  5. Lack of infrastructure and School equipment
  6. Refusal of students to serve punishments
  7. Other causes.

MISMANAGEMENT OF THE SCHOOL

Students often get disgruntled and unhappy with the school administration if they notice that those in authority in the school particularly the Principal and the teachers do not do some of the things they, the students, expect them to do to promote the good name and the welfare of the school and if they (the Principal and the teachers) do some of the things that the students and the general public do not expect them to do. Take for instance a school that uses a generator to supply electricity. A minor thing may go wrong with the generator and it is just left like that and the students have to remain without light for them to do their prep classes in the evenings. A roof may be leaking in a classroom or in the dormitory and the Principal is informed of it but for months nothing is done about the leaking roof and many students have their books and property spoilt.

It may even be that the students take notice that the Principal knows that the gates of the school are open night and day and students leave the school premises at night and during classes in the day time without being checked. These are just students expect the school authority to do promptly but when they discover that no action is being taken by the Principal they become unhappy with the administration of the school. In the same way, students may notice that the Principal and the teachers are doing what they (the students), do not expect them to do. Students may get to know that the parents of some students had to give some bribe to the Principal or to some teachers or workers in the school before they were admitted. It may be known that the material the Principal claims that he is buying for the building of a new classroom block are being diverted to build his personal house either in his home town or in some other big town.

Students may get to know that one of their teachers is responsible for tne pregnancy of a female student in the school. Soys usually feel very angry when girls who are not as brilliant as they are, get high marks and get promoted while they are asked to repeat the class just because such female students make themselves available to the teachers. These again are a few of the many things that students do not expect their Principal and teachers to do. Students get very disappointed when they notice such malpractices among the people who should set good examples of honesty to the students. When such malpractices are not curbed they often lead to students riots and demonstrations.

POOR FEEDING IN BOARDING SCHOOLS

In most students’ riots and demonstrations, poor feeding of the students has always featured as the main cause of the demonstration. Students always complain against the poor quantity and quality of the food they are given by the school authority. They sometimes reach a limit when they feel they can no longer continue with that type of food and they resort to demonstration.

It must be observed that the poor quantity of food is traceable to many reasons. In most cases it arises from the fact that food items have become so costly in the market that the amount of money which students pay as boarding fees is no longer adequate to purchase enough food for their feeding.

While cost of feeding rises almost every month the amount of boarding fees which students pay tend to remain static for several years. This is because the Government does not want school fees to be increased frequently. Once Government has fixed the school fees, such fees are expected to be in operation for at least three years before they are reviewed again. By such time, the fees cannot serve the purpose for which they were fixed since they might have been over-taken by galloping inflation.

Such already bad situation is often confounded by bad management and barefaced dishonest practices among some Principals, teachers, and kitchen staff and even some food prefects in the way they handle the feeding of the students. Students and teachers soon get to know that there is a deal between the contractors and the Principal or Vice Principal or the teacher in charge of food to dupe the students of the full benefits of the money they paid for their feeding. Students feel greatly cheated when some dishonest cooks and stewards also indulge in pilfering thus making the scanty rations of the students almost intolerable There comes a point where the students feel they must act to prevent their being starved to death. A demonstration then ensues.

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