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Schooling in unfriendly environment

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When an eyewitness shared on social media, news of four errant male students of Ireti Grammar School, South West Ikoyi, attempting to assault, in full public glare, female students of Falomo Senior High School, in the Falomo area of Ikoyi, many were taken by surprise.

Expectedly, the ugly incident drew widespread condemnation from a wide spectrum of the society, including the media, and civil society groups.

But after what looked like a spirited campaign to get justice for affected students by these groups, the state government stepped into the matter, which the Nigerian Police have since picked up.

Consequently, the suspected students were arrested, and eventually arraigned in court. As the suspects have their day in court, the public’s attention appears to have shifted away from such a crucial issue of moral decadence in the society.

However, for many conversant with Ikoyi, and its environs, including Obalende, some schools are only within earshot of brothels, garages, bus stops, open bars and such outfits, where noise pollution is the order of the day.

In the case of brothels, quiet as these facilities may look in the day (even though activities still go on in them as they operate on a 24-hour basis), the tempo of activities rises sharply at night. This is also when the commercial sex workers throw caution to the wind, step outside and invite patrons (both young and old) to come and have a “good time.”

Across the state, there are lots of schools situated close to places that are not in any way conducive for teaching, learning and character formation. This is because the facilities are either too noisy, or activities going on there have the tendency to promote negative psychology among pupils in their formative years.

One of such is a school complex in the Agboju area of Oriade Local Council Development Area. Directly opposite this complex, which plays host to four secondary schools are two brothels, where a stream of commercial sex workers are constantly floating around in skimpy and transparent garbs.

Another cluster of four secondary schools is found in a complex in the Mile Two area of Amuwo Odofin Local Local Council Development Area.

Here, the open space in front of these schools has a large portion of it converted to a dumpsite for seized vehicles, by the Lagos State Traffic Management Agency (LASTMA), and the Vehicle Inspection Service (VIS). Miscreants and sundry elements also use the area to answer nature’s call when they are pressed, as well as for smoking Indian hemp.

Another flank of the marked out area has been turned into a bus terminal for intra and inter-state transport companies.

In each of the units of the terminal are giant loud speakers dishing out information to the commuting public. Expectedly, as they continuously bellow routes plied by the buses, the sound oozing out of them does not only impair hearing, but is capable of deafening the students overtime.

Petty traders dealing in local and imported alcoholic beverages, cigarettes and Indian hemp complete the sad picture of what goes on around these schools. To make matters worse, some days, the students would resume to find out that cigarette stubs and that of Indian hemp, as well as, used condoms litter their classrooms.

This inclement atmosphere forced the four schools to construct fences in order to demarcate their facilities from the madness going on in their surroundings.

The same scenario is playing out in Ijegun, Ikotun area of the state, where Ijegun Comprehensive High School, is located just by the Ijegun Bus Stop.

Just like in Mile Two, the large loudspeaker here only keeps quiet at night when the classrooms are empty. In the day, it disturbs the students and teachers non-stop.

In Ajegunle, Infant Jesus School is located directly opposite a motor park. Consequently, pupils are practically in direct contact with all shades of characters with questionable behaviours, and mannerisms, who practice their trade in motor parks.

John Longinus, who graduated from one of the secondary schools in Mile Two, which is next to a motor park and a seized car dump in Amuwo Odofin said, as a student, he and his mates were constantly interfacing with cigarette and hemp-smoking motor park touts and drivers.

According to him, as young adventurous adolescents, it took many of them a lot of courage to resist the temptation of taking to smoking because the way the miscreants and motor boys around puffed their cigarette, “one gets the impression it is an enjoyable experience.”

Even though he resisted the urge to yield to the temptation and embrace smoking, Longinus is not sure that all his classmates resisted the urge.

Explaining how an environment can hamper learning, a psychologist, Mrs. Toyin Alatise-Abimbola, said that an unfriendly learning environment could have negative effects or influence pupils morally, socially and psychologically in the long run.

She added that such negative effects and influences if not appropriately addressed, could reshape an individual’s personality makeup.

“With focus on social deviance, which is a form of personality disorder, an unhealthy learning environment could indirectly influence an individual’s pattern of thinking, acting or learning.

“Using behavioural theory in explaining this, an individual is likely to model a behaviour, which he or she feels desirable, without weighing the consequences,” she explained.

According to Alatise-Abimbola, places like motor parks, where students can easily witness violence and other deviant behaviours associated with garages; brothels; bars, and joints and sometimes, secluded areas are places that pose serious dangers to the psychological make up of students.

Dr. Ayotunde Elegbeleye, a lecturer in the Department of Psychology, Covenant University, Ota, Ogun State, is of the view that learning environment, which is the totality of the physical locations, the contexts, and or the cultures in which students learn must be ideal for the purpose of learning to be achieved.

“This infers that students learn in different ways and contexts. An unfriendly learning environment is that environment that is hostile, unfavourable, harmful, injurious, damaging and destructive to learning.”

Elegbeleye, who noted that young people mostly learn via observation and modeling, added that when schools are located in certain physical spaces, students may pick up the culture or behaviours exhibited in such environments.

According to her, places like garages, bus stops, open bars and joints where noise pollution is the order of the day can impede effective learning.

She added that students can pickup foul languages, anti-social and deviant behaviours from such environments consciously or unconsciously.



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