Hazards associated with poor students’ hostel facilities

Poor students’ hostel facilities in higher institutions are traditional areas of concern for public health, though it has been relatively neglected over recent decades. Student hostel facilities are important for many aspects of healthy living and well-being of students.  The nature of the students’ hostel is important for psychosocial reasons as well as its protection against the elements, but it can also be the source of a wide range of hazards (physical, chemical, biological).  The students’ hostel accommodation environment is important in terms of fear of crime, the accessibility of services, and the opportunity to be physically active (Ukeje, 2012).

The relationship between the students’ hostel facilities and health is multi-faceted.  A healthy student hostel accommodation needs to have sound structure, to be free of hazards, to provide adequate facilities for sleeping, personal hygiene, the preparation and storage of food, to be an environment for comfortable relaxation, for privacy and quiet, and to provide the facility for social exchange with friends, family and others. The students’ hostel is also important in determining such factors as fear of crime, access to local services and facilities and in promoting social interaction (Ozioko, 2007).

Poor students’ hostels facilities have repeatedly been linked to a number of health outcomes, including respiratory symptoms, nausea and vomiting and general ill health. Humidity in the dwelling can cause condensation which encourages the growth of fungal spores. Damp is also associated with an increase in students hostel dust mites. Both of these are known allergens (Omu, 2013). Onyegiri (2014) also stated that poisoning by carbon monoxide occurs in overcrowded poorly ventilated and maintained students’ hostels.

Thornton (2006) indicates that the condition of students’ hostel facilities can impact negatively or positively on students’ performance depending on the state of the buildings. Poor facilities and overcrowding have negative effects on students’ performance. He asserts that researchers have repeatedly found a difference of between 5-17 percentile points in the achievement of students in poor hostel facilities than those in standard hostel facilities. The implication of this for this study as buttressed by Earthman (2012) is that the hostels’ facilities could have negative influence on the students’ comfort, psychological and study ability.

References

Earthman, G. I. (2012). School facility conditions and student academic achievement. Williams Watch Series: Investigating the Claims of Williams v. State of California, UCLA’s Institute for Democracy, Education, and Access, UC Los Angeles.

Omu, M. (2013) Management of physical facilities and equipment in secondary schools Cross River State. Unpublished Ph.D Thesis, Educational Foundations Ph.D. Thesis, Educational Foundations, UNN.

Onyegiri, P. (2014). Private-public partnership in the provision of students hostel accommodation in the polytechnics. An Unpublished Masters Project, University of Nigeria.

Ozioko, J. (2007). Environmental psychology. Enugu: Sunny Pat Prints Nigeria.

Thornton, J.D.  (2006). Examining the relationship between school building conditions and the achievement of students in the high schools in the commonwealth of Virginia. Unpublished Doctor of education dissertation of the Faculty of the Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University.

Ukeje, B. (2012). Educational administration. Enugu: Fourth Dimension Publishers Limited.

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