The Nature and Causes of Indiscipline Cases among Public Secondary School Students in Thika Sub-County, Kiambu County, Kenya (Published)
For a long time now, Kenya has continued to record increasingly disruptive cases of indiscipline among students in public schools. In response to this menace, the Kenya government has usually set up committees to investigate the root causes of and recommend concrete solutions to student indiscipline in schools. Despite many recommendations and subsequent actions by educational stakeholders, the problem of student indiscipline in, especially, Kenyan public secondary schools just seems unable to go away. Therefore, this paper attempts to understand how teachers, students and principals identify and deal with indiscipline cases in their schools so as to make recommendations that could work for every other public school. The paper is based on a case study that investigated the constraints to the development of an effective discipline culture among public secondary schools in Thika District of Kenya. The study employed a survey research design targeting a population of 144 secondary schools, all the accessible students enrolled in these schools, all the 1,753 teachers and all the 144 principals from the 144 schools. The author purposely selected 6 public secondary schools. Data for the study was collected using questionnaires administered to principals, teachers and students and the collected data was analysed descriptively. Based on the research findings, the common cases of indiscipline are: noise making, bullying, fighting, failing to complete assignments, drug abuse, sexual deviance, sneaking out of school, stealing other students’ property and general defiance of school authority and rules. The principals, teachers and students all believe that indiscipline in school can be eradicated. According to them, schools can instil a discipline culture on students through guidance and counselling, involvement of parents in dealing with issues of student behaviour, teachers closely supervising assignments and helping learners to complete difficult tasks, strengthening of peer counselling and meting out punishment against unruly students. The study recommends the need to effectively use available means of communication in schools. Students should be encouraged to express themselves through the proper channels rather than resorting to indiscipline.