MENACE OF CULTISM IN OUR TERTIARY INSTITUTIONS; CAUSES, EFFECT AND POSSIBLE SOLUTION.
One of the most essential problems facing many tertiary institutions in Nigeria today is the problem of cultism. Almost all the long existing institutions of higher learning have experienced the menace of cultism for one time or another. As we have today, the menace and the aggressiveness of cult members and cult related violent clashes and activities on most tertiary institutions campuses have caused the sudden death of lecturers, students and other innocent citizens.
DEFINITIONS OF CULTISM
The Oxford Concise Dictionary of Sociology (1996) gives the sociological definition of cult as a small group or religious activities whose beliefs are typically secret, esoteric and individualistic. Lexican Webster’s Dictionary defines secret cult as a group of people who share a common cause and whose mode of meetings and agenda are unknown to the public and where initiation into rank and file is usually done in secret.
Oxford Advance Learners’ Dictionary defines cultism as a system of religious worship especially one that is expressed in rituals. In summary, cultism can be defined as a ritual practice by group of people whose membership, admission, policy, and initiation formalities as well as their mode of operations are kept secret with their activities having negative effects on both members and non-members alike.
WHY STUDENTS ENGAGE IN CULTISM
Despite the fact that all manners of evil (such as examination malpractice, rape, robbery, arson, maiming, murder, killing, intimidation of fellow students and lecturers for good grades, love (girlfriend), clashes of rival cult group among others) has become of cultism, many students of tertiary institutions still find it fashionable to engage in it for different reasons. .Some of these reasons are explained below.
– Search for responsibility: Some students join cults group in order to perform certain services for the members. For example, some students may engage in cultism in order to fight for perceived injustice in their campuses against their members.
– Search for security: Many students of tertiary institutions, especially the female students join cult groups in order to protect themselves while some male students join to secure their girlfriends.
-Search for social identity: There are also students who join cult group for popularity. They want to make name and to be regarded as powerful people. For these students, to belong to a cult group is a way of achieving prestige and greatness. They belief that they could influence decisions on campus and that they could as well dictate the pace during the student union and students representative elections.
–Search for satisfaction of one’s aspirations and needs: some students also engage in cults group in order to satisfy their desires, aspirations and needs. Example of this is that a student may belong to a cult group which part of her objective is to ensure the success of her members in academic examination.
–Search for respect and recognition: Some students join campus cults to gain respect and recognition and to acquire protection against sanctions from members of the community. Some students also join cult groups for reasons based on past negative experiences at the family level. There are others who join cults because they want to create avenues to exhibit and diffuse frustrations from the family, schools and society. There are students who join cult group for reason of wealth (financial assistance) while others join cults to hide their weaknesses (inferiority complex). Some are forced to join while others feel that the objectives of the cults are laudable and worthwhile. Other reason why students engage in cultism might be influenced by parental and home background, because parents who are members of secret cult themselves may not see anything wrong in their children’s involvement in cultism. Students who have emotional sickness who are possessed by the demon may join cult groups to unleash terror on the society that has caused emotional distress and can grow up to become criminals because of the evil spirit in them. Some students also become cultist because their friends are members. Some students join cult because certain lecturers and administration are members of secret cults. Non-conducive learning facilities, environment and inadequate welfare programs for students can also encourage students to engage in cultism and inadequate religious and moral instructions and education can lure students to embracing cult groups and cult activities. A lot of lives and properties have been destroyed through cult violence. Young undergraduates who are supposed to be leaders in future have fallen victims of trigger-happy cultists.
Another effect of cultism is that, before and during examinations, students are always organizing night vigil and prayer for a successful end of exams and or semester. They always sleep with one eye closed. And because of (this) frequent cult disturbances and insecurity, some parents now prefer off campus accommodation for their children in tertiary institutions for fear of being victims of campus cultists’ rampage. Some members of cult groups cause bodily harm that may result to physical injuries and or death especially during their initiation ceremonies. Closely related to this is the fact that some of them risk health problems because of harmful drugs such as marijuana, cocaine among others that they take. Cult group often subvert (or undermine) the genuine students’ unionism and destabilize university administrations, which do not condone their nefarious activities.
HOW TO CURB THE MENACE OF CULTISM
Over the past two decades, various attempts have been made to deal with the problem of cultism. The various measures taken include the enactment of decree 47 of 1989 that pronounced a number of jail term for any cultist found guilty. Also the Federal Republic of Nigeria under Chief Olusegun Obasanjo in 2000 issued a three- month ultimatum to all vice-chancellors to eradicate cultism from the campuses. Some higher institutions also set up anti-cult groups consisting of the student body itself and some security agents to monitor and check the activities of cultists on campus. Despite the various measures, it appears the proliferation of cult groups and their dastard acts continue unabated. However to curb this menace, the following are veritable. Government and non-governmental agencies and the media should step up their campaigns against cultism and its destructive tendencies. The evil nature of cultism should be explained to young people in schools at all levels through sensitization, seminars, workshops, symposium, posters, handbills and public lectures. Parent should desist from being members of secret cults and also prevent their children from joining bad group. Religious and moral instructions and education should be re-introduced in all spheres of lives and the decadent society should be spiritually reawakened by joint effort of parents, religious organizations, and government. Parents should be more vigilant concerning the activities of their children within and outside the home. Also, there must be improved facilities and improved living conditions on campuses so as to minimize perceived strain in the social system which underlines cultism on the campuses. The school authorities of higher institutions of learning must show their readiness and determination to eradicate cultism. They must brace up to the challenges of the cultism, which has become one of the most potent evils of the recent time. It is very necessary for the committee of vice chancellor of the Nigerian universities to adopt a common and uniform approach to solving the problem of cultism. The issue of former cultists who sometimes return to universities as staff must be looked into. Students who do not belong to cults and some security agents can be organized into anti-cult vanguards or groups to watch or monitor and check the activities of cultists on campus and report cult members to the university authorities or to law enforcement agents. This means that school authorities as posited by must intensify armed patrol and surveillance on campuses.
Having established in the course of dealing with the topic: various scholarly definitions of cultism, various reasons why students engage in it, various effects that cult groups and their activities has on students and various measures that should be adopted to curb the menace. It is therefore imperative on the part of parents, university authorities, religious groups, government and non-governmental organizations and agencies to let all hands be on deck to combat this ugly trend that is gaining ground in most tertiary institutions.
The youths as we all admitted are the future of our country, and the quality of these youths determines the success or otherwise of our country. Therefore, we must all rise up to confront this menace so as to savage the future of our country.
LITTLE SCHOLARS SECONDARY SCHOOL, KADUNA
SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY DEPARTMENT
WORKSHOP ON THE TOPIC
“TECHNOLOGY WILL NOT REPLACE TEACHERS BUT TEACHERS WHO USE TECHNOLOGY WILL PROBABLY REPLACE TEACHERS WHO DON’T”
OYENIYI, RAFIYAT OMOLOLA
This topic will be divided into two
1st part deals with the issue on how technology will not replace teachers. In this section we will discuss what, why and the fears people have with technology
The 2nd part deals with teachers who uses technology and how to use it.
Imagine 2 scenarios, first teacher enters into the class, pushes a remote button, the blackboard screen turns to life, one half shows a digital display of a PowerPoint presentation, other half shows a live synchronization with another professor from a different reputed school. The class starts and the obvious “always in doubt person” asks a doubt. Teacher pushes another button, the digital display changes into an informative video with a link for further reference. Finally, the class ends, teacher e-mails you all the links and puts the e-books on the drop box for you to download. Moreover, you are given a task to tweet about it and also to make page on Facebook.
Scene two, teacher enters into a sleeping class, slams down 3 heavy books on the desk, turns towards the blackboard and starts speaking some very meaningful sentences. The “doubt kid” asks a doubt, which the teacher explains after turning 20-30 pages of one of the book and he/she sits down because of the fear of getting a “D”.
So, which one is better?
PART 1: WHY TECHNOLOGY WILL NOT REPLACE TEACHERS.
Technology in education is the incorporation of IT in the realm of classroom, it refers to the use of technological hardware in education.
Teachers are not automatons handing out information to students, they are leaders, guides, facilitators and mentors. They encourage students when they struggle and inspire them to set and reach for their goals. They are role models, leading by examples and giving directions when necessary.
A computer on the other hand can only give information but cannot lend an ear and discern what is necessary for a student to succeed and to want to succeed.
Points to note about technology and teachers
- Technology doesn’t teach, teachers teach.
- The technology is not the lesson, it is there to enhance the lesson
- The most powerful divide between living things and artificial intelligence is empathy.
Teachers today use technology in their day to day lives. They blog, connect through social media, own laptops, smartphones. So, will it not be better if a teacher if a teacher instead of just sitting down checking his/he Facebook wall, could rather comment and interact on some post by a student of the class.
The truth is that this generation loves technology and teachers can use that to their advantage.
Our classrooms are changing and without a doubt, they will look quite different in five or ten years.
So, yes, technology is going to play a critical; role in the future of educator but not as big a role as that of a teacher.
So if today, a teacher doesn’t want to be called “old-fashioned” or boring. Then he/she needs to shift to smarter teaching.
PART 2: TEACHERS WHO USE TECHNOLOGY WILL PROBABLY REPLACE TEACHERS WHO DON’T”
The modern teachers must be willing to take chances and able to figure out not just how technology works but how it works for each students and where its use is most appropriate.
Fears teachers have about technology
- It is just too complicated
- I don’t trust it to work when in need it.
- The students may be out of control or surfing constantly
- My school doesn’t have enough (time, resources, support, equipment, bandwidth)
- It is not rigorous enough.
Benefits of technology in Education
- Teachers who use technology as a lesson aid will definitely capture their students.
- Students can learn useful skills through technology: students can gain skills they need to be successful in the future.
- Useful tools such a website, apps and e-books influence the students to study on their own. Digital materials support the students to discover new things and learning the topics online.
- Students are able to retain the information in a better way.
- It also allows for more engagement through online polling or asking quiz during lectures.
- Technology can automate a lot of your tedious tasks e.g. keeping track of student attendance, grading for assignments, discussion and participation etc.
- With technology, students have instant access to fresh information that can supplement learning experience.
Seven habits of teachers who uses technology
- They always start with the why: teachers in this category always have a reason for using new technology tools. Whether it saves them time, improves learning outcomes or helps with lesson planning.
- They are malleable and can easily adapt: technology is constantly changing and the classroom environment will be drastically different in 5 to 10 years. Understanding the big picture is key.
- They embrace change: embracing (not fighting) change is key. The world hates change yet it is the only thing that has brought progress.
- They share, share, share and then share some more: it has opened collaboration beyond the school walls technology teachers share best practices which benefits everyone.
- They think win-win-win-win: there is nothing better than having an administrator embrace technology, it is also imperative that you show parents the value of technology and as a teacher, you have to truly believe that it can impact learning outcomes, lastly, students must see the value.
- They are extremely thorough and think two steps ahead: technology teachers already know the answers to any question and they have concrete examples showing effectiveness or in some cases, they are ready to research on it.
- They actively care: technology teachers are the ones who can’t sleep at night because they are excited about a lesson plan idea, are thinking of ways to engage their classroom and pinch themselves at night, wondering how to get paid to inspire students
Also technology teachers indirectly have more time on their hands to do more research on how to use technology to improve the teaching skills.
Technology wave is not slowing down and it won’t go away. Rather, teachers should embrace it.
Also, educational institutions need to choose wisely when they are procuring technology to ensure that they are meeting challenges not merely buying technology to jump on the bandwagon.
THE SPORT WEEK
The sporting week we’ve been waiting for is here, with several sporting events lined up to entertain and make learning fun.
The extra activity of sport is designed to give the students avenue to compete outside the normal classroom work and increase the friendly atmosphere amongst all levels in the school.
The Four houses of our great school will be competing for the ultimate prize of being crowned the champions of little scholars school.
Last session champions, THE RED will want to retain the overall leading position. THE GREEN has now had a good number of skillful participants to give THE RED a run for the title. THE BLUE with its vibrant and young TALENTS is not push over.
THE YELLOW might be the surprise package in this competition, they have a hidden game plan which could give them an edge in the finals.
The finals will be excitingly laced with raw skills, budding talents and future sports representatives of our great country, Nigeria.
Come and be part of the Little Scholars Schools Sport Week. You are all invited.