Stakeholders in Northwest geo-political zone have attributed the current spate of moral decadence among school children to the failure of relevant stakeholders to play the mentorship role expected of them.
Responding to a News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) survey on the issue, they said although moral training of children was a collective responsibility, parents were to blame substantially over the current situation.
They pointed out that parents, teachers, community members and religious leaders had roles to play inculcating good morals in children at home, school environment and places of worship.
Mr Zakari Mohammed, Director Higher Education, Kaduna State Ministry of Education, said that the first point of inculcating morality in a child, was the home.
Mohammed said that it was the primary responsibility of parents to mentor their children and when the child reached school age, teachers were expected to participate.
He said parents owed it a duty to find ways of monitoring activities and behaviour of their children while in school so as to detect and correct areas of concern.
He explained that the disturbing incidences of immoral behaviour among school children showed that there was vacuum somewhere, adding that parents were not doing enough.
“To some extent, some parents have relinquished their responsibilities of moral upbringing to teachers, who had to be playing the roles of ensuring academic advancement, as well as moulding the character of children.
“Every school has Parent Teachers’ Association (PTAs) and School Based Management Committees (SBMCs), which have critical roles to play.
“While the PTAs comprise the parents and teachers, the SBMCs comprise the parents, teachers and community members, and these stakeholders meet to address issues affecting the school system”, he said.
Mr Haruna Danjuma, National President, National Association of Parent Teacher Association, also said that some parents lacked the needed morals to give to their children, thereby leaving the responsibility to teachers.
He stressed the need for parents to wake up to their responsibilities and pay attention to raising the moral standard of their children who were to be the leaders of tomorrow.
Mr Garba Garkuwa, SBMC Chairman, Sabon Gari Local Government Area, Kaduna State, also argued that teachers were supposed to be like parents to the children under their care, and should discipline them when they misbehaved.
“But under the current realities, no teacher can afford to touch anybody’s child in the name of discipline because some parents could mobilise thugs to attack the teacher.
“The parents are discouraging teachers from playing their role of disciplining and counseling the children while in school to keep them in line, and at home, the parents are never there for the children”,he said.
He added that the bond that kept family members together years ago, had broken completely, lamenting that parents had transferred their primary responsibility of parental care to teachers and house-helps.
On her part, Mrs Hadiza Umar, Executive Director, Hope for Communities and Children Initiative (H4CC), an NGO, equally stressed the need for community involvement in parenting.
Umar said that teachers were doing their best, but stressed that parents and communities needed to do more, saying that deviant behaviour of a child, if unchecked, could affect other children in the community.
“Teachers are doing their best but sometimes children come to school with all kinds of issues from their homes, hence the need for psycho-social counseling to children with poor moral upbringing.
“Once you notice a deviant behaviour, bring it to the attention of the parent so that action will be taken before it gets out of hand”, she said.
Meanwhile, Kano State Coordinator of National Human Rights Commission,Mr Shehu Abdullahi, has called on government to provide legal framework and policies on handling children within and outside the home.
He told NAN in Kano that with such arrangement, the moral upbringing of children might be guaranteed.
He emphasised that parents were major stakeholders in ensuring the proper moulding of their wards, adding that the community and schools were only supposed to complement.
On her part, a parent in Kano, Mrs Feyisayo Robinson, said the moulding of a child starts from the day of birth.
“Parents must critically assess the type of the school their children attend, otherwise what ever efforts made at home will be reversed in school,” she said.
Another parent, Mr Lawal Muhammed, stressed the need to moderate the time and type of films being watched by children at home.
“Most parents comfortably sit with their children to watch contents meant for adults only, and this later boomerangs when the kids manifest what they see,” Muhammed said.
A psychologist, Dr Abba Musa, explained that the whole issue of parenting depended on the level of understanding by parents and the child psychology.
According to him, most parents do not understand the psychology of their own children because of distance they have created.
“A lot of parents do not pay attention to the psychological needs of their children, and the gap created gives room for deviant behaviour without the parents realising”, he explained.
He appealed to parents to study their children and spend time with them in order to draw them close and regulate their behaviour at early stage.
On his part, an educationist in Kebbi, Muhammad Jibo, observed that most parents had failed woefully in their responsibilities of nurturing their children to become worthy characters in the society.
“You cannot get what you did not give; the outcome of bad parenting is nothing but the bad attitude and behaviour you see in children,” he said.
Jibo, a lecturer with Department of Education, Usman Danfodio University, Sokoto, identified parenting as the process of promoting and supporting the physical, emotional, social and intellectual development of a child, from infancy to adulthood.
The educationist said healthy parent involvement and intervention in child’s day-to-day life lays a solid foundation for better social and academic skills, something most parents lacked today.
A parent in Birnin Kebbi, Malam Musa Dogara, lamented that some parents had failed in their duties, hence the challenge of moral bankruptcy that was manifesting in the manner small children displayed their nudity.
“With the current atmosphere, especially on social media, I advise parents to take up the challenge of shaping and moulding their children to be good ambassadors of their respective homes,” he advised.
In Sokoto, Mrs Kulu Nuhu, former Director in charge of Children, Sokoto State Ministry for Women and Children Affairs, suggested that religious centres should also play the role of social services centres.
She said such places should be more of Reformation Centres or hubs for discussing issues bedeviling the society, just as she described the recent unwholesome conduct of students of some institutions in Lagos, as proceeds of neglect and poor parenting.
In her contribution, the Permanent Secretary, Sokoto State Ministry for Women and Children Affairs, Mrs A’isha Dantsoho, suggested the introduction of pre- marriage counseling for intending couples to address the issue of proper upbringing of children.
She said such proactive measure would enable the ‘future parents’ have a clear idea of what society expected of them in the area of moulding the character of their future kids.
In Katsina and Zamfara States, respondents observed that parents had abdicated their responsibility of imparting moral values on their children, expecting school teachers to shoulder such responsibility.
A retired School Principal in Katsina State, Malam Kabiru Umar, said that the responsibility of proper child-upbringing should not lie on the shoulders of teachers.
“The responsibility of mentoring children to behave well and become useful members of the society is that of parents; the role of teachers is purely complementary”, he said.