Meaning of Contemporary Social Problems
Contemporary issues and social problems are happenings or challenges that are currently affecting many people in the society. Social problems could be described as those social vices that came about as a result of urbanization, development of cities, increase in human population, interaction among people of different social background, different ethnic groups, contact with foreign cultures, use of electronic media, ICT, TV, internet services, prohibited literature etc.
Contemporary Social Problems in Nigeria
Among these social issues that have become problems are:
- Examination malpractice
- Human trafficking
- Drug abuse
- Ritual killing
- Area boys syndrome
- Political killings
- Rigging of elections
- Advance fees fraud (419)
Examination malpractice is the term used to describe the various foul means employed by students and their helpers to pass examinations and get unmerited grades and results. Students engage in examination malpractice at every level of education but it is more pronounced at the secondary and tertiary institutions of learning. It is one of the common social problems in Nigeria and a social vice that reached a high proportion in Nigerian education sector. In recent years, government at the Federal level was forced to enact Decree 18 of 1984 in order to curtail the practice.
Causes of Examination Malpractice
- Crave for good grades: The crave to earn good grades in order to secure white collar jobs or gain admission to higher institutions.
- Laziness: Those who are too lazy to study will not have the required knowledge and so want to cheat during examinations.
- Truancy: Some students absent themselves from classes only to come to examination halls with intention to cheat.
- Lack of self-confidence: Due to lack adequate preparation, most students lose confidence in their ability to pass and so resort to cheating.
- Lack of enough provision for higher education: There is always the lack of enough space for all to gain admission into higher institutions of learning in the country. This constitute a serious factor for cheating in order to score high cut-off marks.
- Preference for some courses of study over others: Parents feel proud if their children are admitted for courses like Medicine, Law, Architecture, Petroleum Engineering etc irrespective of whether their children possess the ability and interest for such courses. In order to be ranked among the successful in the society, they encourage their children in cheating to pass requisite subjects at high grades.
- The desire to live big: Many students prefer pleasure to hard-work, yet they want to live big in the society. Hence they resort to cheating in examinations to secure certificates that will guarantee their success in getting high paid jobs.
- Overpopulation in many schools: Since the few who do very well may be promoted or admitted into higher institutions. Students therefore cheat in order to excel in the exams and over their mates.
- Corrupt invigilators and Supervisor: The students know that if they offer bribes to invigilators, they will be allowed to cheat in the examination hall. Worse still, the proposal to offer bribe for cheating will in some cases originate from the supervisors or invigilators.
- Many students are desperate: Many students think that passing the examination is a “do or die” affair. They want to excel by all means. Some wants promises from parents fulfilled, others want to be on TV or newspaper as the best in one form of the examination or the other (though cheats hardly excel).
Effects of Examination Malpractice
- Loss of confidence in public examinations: Certificates issued by examining bodies and tertiary institutions no longer command public respect. Many school leavers including university graduates cannot defend their certificates during job placement interviews.
- Inefficiency in places of work: Many school leavers including graduates from higher institutions lack the proficiency expected of holders of the certificates they carry.
- Fall in the Standard of Education: Due to examination malpractice, the standard of education in Nigeria is seen to have fallen. Certificates are now being forged or given to those who can pay illicit prices for them even at the university level.
- Promotion of other vices in the Society: The gross failure in the educational system has introduced so many other social vices in the society.
- Disgraceful rustication from higher institutions: Many students who succeeded in gaining admission to higher institutions through examination malpractice have been shown the way out when discovered or when they could not cope with the demands of the courses they were admitted to read.
- Discouragement of good candidates from studying: Good candidates are tempted to believe that “if you cannot beat them, join them” especially as they see other candidates get away with their corrupt behaviour.
- Denial of innocent candidates opportunity for admission: Many good students have been denied admission by corrupt ones who through examination malpractices have better scores and grades.
- It delays the processing of examination scores and grades: Every year, many students caught for engaging in examination malpractices will need to be investigated before results are released. Though results are withheld pending the determination of the cases, some are decided before results are released. This extends the processing time.
Solutions to the Problem of Examination Malpractice
- Enforcement of Decree 18 of 1984 on offenders to serve as deterrent to others
- Provision of adequate learning facilities in schools to ensure good learning
- Provision of enough space in schools to accommodate the increase in population of school age children.
- School heads at the secondary school level should sit up to stamp out malpractices in their schools
- Lecturers who collect gratification from students to award unmerited grades should divorce themselves from such evil practices in our tertiary institutions. Those caught doing this evil should be summarily dismissed.
- Examination Supervisors and Teachers who aid and abet students to cheat during public examinations should be made to face the law if caught in the act.
- Students should study and prepare well before going to sit for any examination.
Meaning of Cultism
A cult is a secret society which is not open to everybody. Cultism therefore is an act of belonging to a secret cult in an educational institution. Members of a secret cult have particular spiritual beliefs usually regarded by others as misguided. They come together for certain purposes that might not be approved by other people. Members use dangerous weapons to kill and maim rival groups or innocent students in order to assert their influence and get undue advantages such as good grades, girlfriends, etc. in the campus. Cultism is one of the deadliest contemporary social problems in Nigeria.
Causes of Cultism
- Protection: In the olden days, the real cause of cultism is protection against bad school administration or protection of interests in government jobs. Members come together in secret to discuss how to protect themselves.
- Inadequate Parental Care: Parents no longer care about the friends their children and wards keep. Many do not care about funding their children’s education. The result is that, the child joins groups that would make them ‘comfortable’ at school and in the larger society. Cultists attract such people when they get to schools.
- Disobedience to wise counsels given by parents to their wards as they get admitted to higher institutions.
- Inordinate ambition to be recognized as a tough guy in campus
Effects of Cultism in Schools
- Threat to peace and security in campuses and the larger society when intra-cult clashes occur.
- Cultists cause death and cause unhappiness to the families affected by their activities.
- They make those who work diligently not to reap the result of their hard work.
- Maintenance of discipline among students in schools becomes difficult as cult members specialize in taking laws into their hands.
- Infringement on the right of others.
- Fall in academic standard in campuses as lecturers are sometimes intimidated to award unmerited grades by threats.
- Dismissal from school when the law catches up with cult members.
- They give bad names to institutions and the society at large.
- When caught, they give bad names to their families.
Solutions to Cult Activities on Campuses
- Parents should impress it upon their children the dangers of cultism rather than supporting them.
- Parents should show adequate care to their children. They should pay their children’s school fees regularly.
- Campaign against cultism should be embarked upon on school campuses. Mass media should also be involved in the campaign against cultism.
- Possible stern penalties should be given to students on admission and they should be made to sign undertakings.
- Lecturers should be fair to all students and be transparent in their dealings with students.
- School authorities should be vigilant in stamping out cultism from schools and campuses and be decisive in dealing with identified cases. Adequate security measures should be put in place to check the activities of cultists on the campuses.
- Religious leaders should rise to the challenge of condemning this evil and not mince words when teaching and preaching against cultism.
Meaning of HIV/AIDS
HIV simply means Human Immunodeficiency Virus. It destroys the immune system of man. AIDS means Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome. This implies that the virus is not inborn but acquired from a carrier. The virus weakens the immune system and lead to series of diseases that can kill the carrier. HIV/AIDS is one of the most dreaded contemporary social problems in Nigeria and Africa.
Causes of HIV/AIDS
- Unprotected sexual intercourse with a carrier.
- Sharing of objects like needles, injection syringes, barbing clippers, razor blades, pins, toothbrushes etc. that are not sterilized with a carrier.
- Infected mother can transfer it to her unborn baby.
- Infected blood transfusion.
Effects of HIV/AIDS
- HIV/AIDS always result in series of illnesses.
- It can eventually lead to death as it is incurable.
- A lot of money is being used in search of the cure and management of HIV/AIDS.
- A carrier can lose his job.
- It can lead to divorce.
- The carriers often suffer discrimination.
- It creates emotional problems such as anxiety, fear and sadness for the carrier and his loved ones.
Prevention of HIV/AIDS
Since HIV/AIDS has no cure, it has to be prevented. The following measures can be taken to prevent the incidence of HIV/AIDS:
- People who are single should abstain from sexual intercourse while married ones should be faithful to their spouse.
- Those who cannot abstain from indiscriminate sexual intercourse should use condom.
- Those who use sharp objects such as doctors, barbers, and hairdresser should sterilize the instruments.
- Blood should be properly screened and made sure they are HIV/AIDS free before transfusion.
- Mention six of the common social problems in Nigeria today.
- Mention two causes of examination malpractice
- What is cultism?
- Mention two causes of cultism.
- Suggest two ways by which cultism could be eradicated.
- What is the full meaning of (i) HIV? (ii)AIDS?
- How can a person contact HIV/AIDS?
- State three effects of HIV/AIDS.
- Mention two ways of preventing HIV/AIDS.