Do Rules, Regulations Actually Work?

rules-and-regulationsTHE increase in the number of private tertiary institutions has significantly reduced the problem of many school leavers failing to gain admission in Nigeria.

It may have also stemmed vices such as cultism, examination malpractice, sexual harassment and indecency, often associated with public schools. This feat might have been achieved as a result of strict rules and regulations imposed on the students in order to regulate their behaviours.

The guiding code of every institution differs and bears a link with its vision and mission. Some institutions that operate with hostel accommodations frown at students leaving the premises indiscriminately. Others have dress codes with restrictions on contact between the sexes and on use of mobile phones. One private university in Ogun State, for instance, prohibits students from using cell phones.

In its stead, they are provided with SIM-less tablets for e-mailing and research. In the case of Redeemers University (RUN), Ede, Osun State, students have restrictions on the use of cell phones in lecture rooms and during church services.

Stories abound of various strict policies in these institutions. The authorities of these schools often claim that rules could ensure protection for their students against bad behaviours.

But based on reports of immoral acts and other vices by the students, it appears the institutions’ dreams are far from being achieved. Experts say that in the early 80s and 90s, youths exhibited better morals with fewer rules restricting their movement or interaction with the opposite sex.

They simply knew what to do at the right time because they had been morally cultured. But despite overt rules, now, vices are being recorded in private tertiary schools with alarm. Reports of students’ unrest abound. Students of Caleb University, Lagos, for instance, went on rampage last year. The management of the institution failed to calm them, until law enforcement agents were invited.

The question is: are stringent rules in these institutions necessary? One student, who spoke to The Guardian, said youths break rules, especially when they are too many.

He noted that nowadays, youths are more creative. They love to explore life as far as their imaginations allow, and hate to be restricted. He said that although students face punishment for breaking school rules, they nevertheless endure the four or five-year restrictions. But during their mandatory one-year National Youth Service Corps scheme, when such restrictions are no longer in place, they indulge recklessly in their newfound liberty. “The restrictions on those bottled up behaviours are removed at such time.

The surge of excitement that often follows can adversely affect society. It just makes one to wonder what the rules were meant to achieve in the first place,” he said.

One female student said: “I have been in this school for three years. These rules have their disadvantages and advantages. They give us good standards and also help us to have good morals. But they deprive us of liberty. It is like being shut in and becoming extra careful that if you made any wrong move you would be suspended from the school.”

The Public Relations Officer of Redeemers University (RUN), a faith-based institution, Mr. Adetunji Adeleye, however, defended the rules, saying policies are meant to ensure character building in schools.

Adeleye said: “Where there are no laws, there is bound to be chaos and disorderliness. For normal affairs to be regulated, there is need for guiding principles.

There is no way anybody can be successful in life without ethos. Ethos is the basis for regulating human actions. The custodians of those institutions must have looked at the development in their institutions before coming up with those laws, so that at the end of the day, they can work towards the actualisation of their vision.

The vision of each tertiary institution is the determinant of what they put in place to guide students to achieve those visions. “When you look at most faith-based organisations, they are not only interested in learning, they are also interested in character building, and that is why they put those laws into place. Even when you look at the 12 disciples of Jesus, one person betrayed him.

In human society, you’ll always find people who are unruly, people who are bound to go contrary to regulations. You’ll also discover that despite some wayward ones, there are people who would be willing to obey, once there are rules and regulations.”

He said one of the best things that have come out of private tertiary institutions in the country is the fact that they focus more on character building. “The core students’ behaviours are regulated, bringing finesse and orderliness.

When you look at the ratio of people violating the rules, you’ll discover that it is minimal. Most of the parents who take their children to the schools want their behaviours regulated in terms of education and morals. “On the issue of cell phones, I believe they must have their reasons.

Whenever they are not allowed to use it, you must have been able to identify some cases of abuse. If a student goes to class and while lecture is on, he or she is chatting, I believe such situations should not be allowed.”

Speaking in the same vein, the Deputy Vice Chancellor/Senior Vice President, Adeleke University, Ede, Osun State, Prof. Ibikunle Tijani, said: “At Adeleke University for instance, we allow our students to use cell phones, but we also place restrictions.

You cannot put on your cell phone during lecture hours. If you do, some points would be deducted from you. The implementation of that varies from one lecturer to the other. I think so many institutions have that in place too.” The don stressed that learning can only occur when discipline is enforced.

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