This study focused on the influence of peer pressure and school environment on students’ academic performance at the University of Zambia. The objectives of the study were to find out the factors that trigger peer pressure among students, to investigate how pressures from peers can result in independent decisions, responsible and irresponsible behavior, to identify possible ways to minimize peer pressure at the University of Zambia and to examine the impact of physical facilities on students. The study was conducted at The University of Zambia. Primary data was collected using Semi-structured interviews and questionnaires. the secondary data collection tools was based upon the existing books, reports and internet on the influence of peer pressure and school environment on students’ academic performance. The research comprised of different respondents’ perceptions at the University of Zambia.
The sample for this particular study consisted of 50 respondents from different programs. The data was analyzed, presented and interpreted using tables and figures whereby frequencies and percentages were presented. According to the first objective, factors that trigger peer pressure among students as revealed by the respondents included the need to belong, social status, poverty, technology, globalization, ignorance, sexual desires, stress, anxiety, not being assertive, lack of proper guidance and level of income bracket, low self-esteem and political affiliationsAlthough it is commonly believed that students make decisions based on their life experience, this is not always the case in most students at the University of Zambia. Many students are unknowingly making decisions under the influence of peer pressure. Other findings of the study, shows that peer pressure does not always affect decision making, it also affects behavior of an individual. Guidance and counseling, encouraging team building and interaction with peers from other peer groups, equal distribution of resources and encouraging objective thinking were some of the solutions that emerged from the study to help students cope with peer pressure.
But the major solution was counselling by parents. The study findings indicate that school physical facilities has a positive influence on students’ academic performance on students This means that universities with adequate physical facilities are likely to have a healthy school climate which is likely to bring the better performance among students. Those with inadequate physical facilities, on the other hand, are likely to create a negative school climate which is likely to lead to low levels of students’ academic performance.