Deviance and Control in Primary Schools – An Investigative Approach

Deviance and Control in Primary Schools – An Investigative Approach

Deviance and Control in Primary Schools – In any society, there exist certain rules of behaviour which guide the activities of members of such society in their operations in different areas of life. These rules which are usually derived from common norms, values, ideas, customs, conventions, principles, aspirations are usually consensual and made available to the people. The violation of these said norms and values is said to have deviated from the stipulated laws or rules governing such society or organization.

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The Nigerian society before now has been held in high esteem due to the brave and positive historical activities of her citizens but the reverse is now the case in our contemporary society. This evidence is in the current violation or violent activities in our major cities, twos and Nigerian schools. Barry and Johnson (1975) noted that deviations in behaviour are not prescribed and acceptable. It is any conduct that violates particular social expectation of behaviour of a particular society and falls outside the acceptable range along established norm.

Spratt cited in Wilkes (1978) that “the concept of deviance implies the concept of order”. We have at the back of our minds the norms of a social system with its normative regulations and deviance is the departure on the part of participants from cultural accepted rules and conducts.

The word deviance generally has a negative connotation and societies usually institute measures to curb deviance among its member sin form of reward for conformity and punishment for deviance. Deviance therefore is any form of behaviour that goes contrary to or negates partially or wholly any rule of behaviour in society whether society member have any powers to punish such deviations or not. Deviant behaviour has been in existence through all generations, but it has been in different forms and indifferent places of the world. The origin of deviance can be traced to the Bible. The story of Adam and Eve, Cain and Abel, Ananians and Saphira and Saul and Samuel, the story of the Prodigal son e.t.c. deviance as the name implies can therefore be said to be as old as humanity where both indigenous and modern societies have their ideas of right and conduct and how each of these is encouraged. Deviant behaviour tend to have assumed different Nigerians Primary School, before now, deviant behaviour have been rating high in our modern communities societies and schools. Deviance by nature therefore refers to socially disapproved behaviours, the violation of some agreed upon norms that prevail in the society. Deviance could take the form of staring at a stranger in an elevator, driving an over speed limit, talking to oneself, fighting or telling lies e.t.c. factor that usually influences deviance or conformity is the level of integration within the group, the degree.


          The problem, which this study intends to address, is that the Nigerian Educational System is confronted with the problem of deviant behaviours.


i.        Purpose of this study is to find out the patterns of deviance that exist inNigerian Primary School Pupils.

ii.       To find out the possible Control Measuresto be adopted.

iii.      To find out the causes of deviance among Primary School Pupils.

iv.      To examine the effects of deviance on the academic performance of the Primary School Pupils.

v.       To find out the extent of deviance among Primary School Pupils in the sampling area (Ivo L.G.A).


The research topic “Patterns of Deviance and Control in Nigerian Primary School Pupils a case study of Ivo Local Government Area of Ebonyi State” is a vast one but for the purpose of objectivity and convenience, the study is restricted to only eight (8) Primary Schools and to pupils of only Senior Primary School Five and Six. The study is expected to find out the patterns of deviance that exist among Nigerian Primary School Pupils and the possible control measure to be adapted to this study.


The significance of this study is to ascertain the patterns of deviance that exist among Nigerian Primary School Pupils and the possible control measure to be put in place. The study is important to educators, parents, guardians and the society at large to curb the problemof deviance. A thorough study into the causes will suggest and proffer some useful solutions towards controlling the situation and improving educational standard. Another index of significance of the study is as regards researchers. The work will be of immense help and importance to other researchers in Nigerian who may wish to continue to further investigation in this aspect of deviance patterns.


The following research questions were formulated to guide the study:

  1. What factors are identified by Primary School Teachers as what make Pupils conform to norm?
  2. What factors cause deviance behaviour among Primary School Pupils?
  3. What impact has deviance behaviour on academic performance of pupils in Primary School?
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          This chapter reviews the related literature to the study on the patterns of deviance and possible control measures in Ivo Local Government Area in Ebonyi State. It is organized along the following sub-headings which includes concept of deviance, patterns of deviance, causes of deviance, control measures to be use.

 Concept of Deviance

Historically, the concept of deviance attracts the attention of many authors and scholars. They had given different definitions as to the study of deviance.

Njoku D. (2001), referring to citizenship education defined deviance as an act which is both morally and legally reprehensive within a given society at a particularpointin time.

Goode E. (1994), see deviance as a malfunction, a potentially destructive force that society needs to eliminate or at least keep under are typical of all deviant.

C.O Odo (2006) referring to sociology of education define deviance as those behaviours that deviates from the social norms.

For the purpose of this research work, deviance is seen as any form of behaviour in society that goes contrary or negates partially or wholly any rule of behaviour in the society whether society members have any powers to punish such deviations or not. In a society where might is right, it becomes easy for people to accept form of standards and rules of behaviour violated by most members of the society, the entire society structure might be thrown into a state of anomic or normlessness.

 Patterns of Deviance

In every country deviance is found to some extent. In Nigerian today a number of studies have shown its existence by Primary School Pupils.

Unachukwu (1989:333) reported on his conduct between 1966 and 1971 that primary school pupils in Western States of Nigeria committed deviants patterns such as stealing, disobedience, gossiping, dishonesty and fighting. In his study, he discovered that stealing, disobedience, truancy, gossiping and fighting were the most committed of them and to make the issue more complex some functionalist sociologist like Durkkheim, (1958), K Erickson (1966) argues that deviance is not always bad for the society and may actually serve a purpose.

Act f deviance by Primary School Pupils are disruptive and generates varying degrees of social, disapproval, but at a deeper level they can contribute to the maintenance and continuity of every society.

Truancy Hombly (1997) defined truancy as a habit of staying away from school or classes without the consent of school authorities .

However, it does not only connote keeping away from school or class, but also includes the shrinking away from responsibilities. Truancy may indicate more deeply embedded problems with the pupils and it is commonly associate with juvenile delinquency.

 Causes of Deviance

Walter Reikless (1967), in an effart to answer this question developed a theory of social control which states that certain factors draw people toward deviance and those factors are poverty, unemployment and lack of educational opportunities. They may also be influenced by members of subcultures mal-adaptations of deviant behaviours and their own feelings of frustrations, hostility or inferiority.

However many people do not turn to deviance, for they are isolated by outer containments.

Human society is a closely, knit network of roles and status and the individuals as elements of the system are required to adhere to norms and values. No society can thrive in the face of normlessness a fragrant disregard of rules and laws of the land. Deviance can only be negative if it leads to social decadence. These are possible causative factors which generate for deviant behaviour in our Nigeria primary school pupils as recorded in social sociology of education Agu (1988) are home factors, school and teacher factors.


          The chapter specifically is aimed at describing research design; it also deals with the method employed in the study, the population and the technique for selection the subjects used to the research. This chapter goes further to make a vivid description of the instruments used vis-à-vis the employments and the validation of the instrument, the procedure employed in data collection as well as the description of method of analysis.

   Research Design

The design is a survey which intends to find out the patterns of deviance and it’s controlling Ivo L.G.A of Ebonyi State.

Area of the Study

          The study will be conducted in Ivo L.G.A at Ebonyi State, consisting of eight (8) autonomous communities and the study was specifically conducted in,

  1. Ogwor Community Primary School, Ishiagu
  2. Ishiagu Central School Ishiagu
  3. AgunaCommunity Primary School Ishiage
  4. Amaeze Community Primary School Ishiagu
  5. Nwwongwo Community Primary School Ishiagu
  6. Ihietutu Community Primary School Ishiagu
  7. Amonye Community Primary School Ishiagu.
  8. Obioha Amagu Community Primary School Ishiagu

  Population of the Study

The population of this study consists of one hundred and twenty eight Primary School Teachers and sixteen head teachers.

 Sample and Sampling Techniques

The sample for this study consists of eight six teachers randomly drawn from Primary five (5) and primary six (6) classes of the eight schools including eight head teachers of the various primary schools under study. The respondents were chosen by simple random sampling method. This implies that 10% of the teachers were chosen from each primary School this gave the sampling population of ninety four including the head teachers of the school.

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   Instrument of Data Collection

          The instrument used for data collection was the questionnaire, on patterns of deviance and control in Ivo L.G.A of Ebonyi State, which was presented in a likert format. The questionnaire was constructed  and structured on a four point scale where opinions of respondents (DA) strong agree (SA) agree (A) disagree section A and section B. section A elicited information on the personal data of the respondent while section B contains the item which elicited responses on the patterns of deviance and deviance controlling Ivo L.G.A. Ebonyi State.

Section B

The Section B contains the research questions of the researcher, which was prepared in a four likert scale arranged in strong agree (SA) strong disagree (SD) agree (A) disagree (DA).

  Validation of Instrument

The instrument used on the patterns of deviance and control in Ivo L.G.A. was questionnaire and it was subjected to face validity to ensure that it measure what it is intended to measure.

For the validation of instrument, a number of items were developed and submitted to the supervisor who made constructive criticism of the draft. Based on the criticisms, the research made amendments on the draft and instruments was finally adopted.

Method of Date Analysis

The researcher made use of mean score and sorted questions according to the responses having calculated the number of responses given by the pupils and teachers of the schools through the questionnaire.


          In this chapter, the data for this study were analyzed and presented based on the research questions that guided the study.

 Research Question 1

What factors are identified by primary schoolteachers as what make pupil conform to norms?

TABLE1: mean and standard deviation of factors that makes pupil conform to norms

1 When Security Operate Smoothly 5 4 3 2 1 N X SD Remarks
2. When they expect reward 2 6 4 30 8 50 2-28 1.00 Reject
3. When Government 24 11 2 6 7 50 3.80 1.50 Accept
4. When there is no alternative norms 18 15 6 8 3 50 3.74 1.27 Accept
5. Fear of punishment 25 10 3 6 7 50 3.82 1.49 Accept

The table above chows that the respondents agreed that pupil of divorced background sense of security; they have low self-concept and poor self-esteem.

Research Question 2

What factors cause deviance behaviour among primary school pupils?


6 Poverty 5 4 3 2 1 N X SD Remarks
7 Ignorance 18 15 6 8 3 50 3.70 12 Accept
8 Moral Laxity 25 10 3 5 7 50 3.82 1.49 Accept
9 Broken Homes 25 10 1 8 6 50 3.8 1.4 Accept
10 Heredity 2 6 4 30 8 50 2.3 1.00 Reject

Table 2 above shows that the school attendance of children of divorce couple is very poor.

Research Question 3

   What impact has deviance behaviour on academic performance?


11 High incidence of truancy 5 4 3 2 1 N X SD Remarks
12 High level of illiteracy 21 13 10 2 4 50 3.9 1-2 Accept
13 Poor school achievement 18 11 15 6 5 50 3.72 1.3 Accept
14 Disrespect to teachers and total withdrawal from school 20 15 3 8 4 50 3.7 1.3 Accept
15 Moral laxity and poor skills 4 6 5 25 10 50 2.3 1.2 Reject


Table 3 shows that the respondents agreed that the extent to which divorce influence children of divorced parent moral behaviour is very high.


          This chapter discusses the result of the study presented in chapter four. The sequence of presentation is in line with the research question and hypothesis posed. The conclusion and educational implication of this study are examined. The recommendations and limitations of the study are made while suggestions for further studies are equally given.

Interpretation of Result

Answering from the data analyzed, the results presented on the above tables, the findings of which was based on the opinions of the teachers and pupils are summarized below;

  1. That there exist patterns of deviance in Nigerian Primary Schools.
  2. The occurrence of deviant behaviours is rated high. In primary schools in Ivo L.G.A.
  3. Schools have made different efforts in curbing or controlling deviance in primary school in Ivo L.G.A.
  4. There is no significant difference between deviant behaviour in boys and deviant behaviour in girls.
  5. There is no significant difference between deviant behaviours of pupils in Government schools and pupils in private schools.

Research Question 1

What are the patterns of deviance among Nigerian Primary School Pupils?

The result of the data analyzed based on the questionnaire gives the answer to the research question as presentation on the table 4.1. it however shows that the patterns of deviance that exist among primary school pupils are;

Fighting in school, Causing of confusion in class, Late coming to school, engage in absenteeism, Telling Lies, Truancy, Gossiping, Indecent dressing, disobedient to teachers, and petty crime.

Thus, it has a pooled mean of 82.08 and below are negative and 0.99 and above are positive, it therefore implies that all the patterns of deviance listed above exist among primary school pupils.

The finding of this study however, justifies the positive of sociologist like Durkheim (1985) who said that deviance is not always bad for the society and may actually serve a purpose.

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Acts of deviance of primary school pupils are; disruptive and generate varying degrees of social disapproval but in a deeper level, they can contribute to the maintenance and continuity of every society.

  Research Question 2

In which of frequency dose deviance occurs?

The result of the analysis of data based on the administered questionnaire shows the answer to the research question presented 4.2

The mean rating of the responses and the pooled mean is positive showing the deviant behaviour occurrence is rated high in secondary schools in Ivo .L.G.A.

Research Question 3

What efforts has the school made to curb deviance in primary schools?

The answer to this research question is presented on table 4.3and give the polled mean of the teachers responses as 45.25. The passivity of the mean indicated that the school authorities have made effort in the curbing of deviance and those efforts are;

  1. Provision of guidance and counseling units in primary schools.
  2. The school authority punishes disobedient pupils.
  3. The school counselors give admonitions to pupils.
  4. Giving pupils home work and assignment in order to help in their academic development with all these efforts put in place the school has been able to achieve maximum control in curbing of deviant behaviours in primary school in Ivo L.G.A of Ebonyi State.


          The study identified the patterns of deviance and control in eight primary schools in Ivo L.G.A. of Ebonyi State. Specifically, the study sought to also identify the possible control measures to be adopted in the curbing of deviance to also find out the causes of deviance among primary school pupils ad to examine the effects of deviance on the academic performance of the pupils.

The results of this study have implications for educational practice is in existence in or Nigeria Primary Schools, it’s not properly checked or controlled, may lead to poor academic performance of primary school pupils in which case may result to poor leadership since the pupils are the leaders of tomorrow.

However, if this deviant behaviour is not controlled, it may also result to poor or low academic standard and it will mount terror to the society and country at large.


On the basis of the findings of this study and the educations were made;

  1. Teachers should endeavor to teach and prepare pupils before examinations to avoid examination malpractice.
  2. Teachers should always take the attendance of their pupils without delegation pupils to do it so as to know pupils who are present and absent in school each day.
  3. Teachers should live an exemplary life being aware of the fact that they are role models to the pupils.
  4. Guidance and counseling experts should be employed in schools and counseling services should also be made compulsory.
  5. Highlight pupils’ performance for reward during price giving day to serve as an incentive.
  6. The pupils should be told or lectured on the harmful effects of truancy in school and examination malpractices.
  7. Conducting quiz and debate competitions as regular as possible.
  8. Teachers should be up and doing.
  9. Organization of excursion to important places or educational importance.
  10. Conducting moral instruction and establishing Christian bodies.
  11. Effective disciplinary committees involving teachers and parents should be inaugurated.


Based on the findings, the following conclusions are made;

  1. The study generated useful information as a basis for identifying the patterns f deviance that exists among primary school pupils in Ivo L.G.A.
  2. Literature was reviews which provided an insight on relevant research pupils on task/problem under study. The review examined the concept of deviance, causes of deviance and control measures to be adopted in the curbing of deviance in primary school, patterns of deviance in pre-colonial era in Ivo L.G.A of Ebonyi State.
  3. The research questions and two hypothesis were posed and data were collected from a sample was adopted in choosing the respondents. The instrument for data collection was the questionnaire, which was obtained from relevant information on the sample.
  4. The results indicated that deviances exist among primary school pupils and the school authorities are putting in their best in order to curb it.


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