NAIROBI, Kenya, Apr 15 – The government has directed all secondary schools to ensure that they immediately formulate student councils to replace the prefecture system.
According to Education Cabinet Secretary Jacob Kaimenyi, schools with councils have managed to instil order and better relationships between the schools’ administration and students.
“The secondary schools students’ council that was adopted in 2008 has effectively replaced the previous prefecture system in about 75 percent of the secondary schools.”
“Available empirical evidence indicates positive outcomes such as reduction of indiscipline cases, unrest in schools and improved performance in both academic and co-curricular activities.”
“Councils have also been instrumental in promoting positive relationships between the schools and the neighbouring communities. In view of the above I therefore direct all schools to ensure that they have democratically elected councils with immediate effect,” Kaimenyi explained.
Speaking at the 6th National Students’ Council Conference, the Education CS advised student leaders to develop strong working relationships with their peers in order to be effective in their leadership.
“It is important that you strive to acquire knowledge, skills and attitudes that instil positive attributes such as hard work, honesty, accountability, innovativeness, creativity and respect for the rule of law.”
“Your participation in school management should be aimed at enhancing democracy in decision making. It is by actively participating in governance of the school that a sense of ownership created.”
“You are expected to take part in the formulation and implementation of school policies and also in planning of special events or projects in the school.”
“Success in all your functions can be achieved through effectively managing communication between students and the school administration, being disciplined and orderly, embracing democratic principles in leadership, being morally upright, and by promoting students’ welfare,” the Education CS urged.
Kaimenyi’s remarks were backed by his Principal Secretary Belio Kipsang who warned teachers and parents against holiday tuition now that the schools have taken a break.
“No pupil shall be subjected to holiday tuition. Children should be provided with opportunities to be with their parents at home to be guided and counselled in other non-academic aspects such as life skills,” said Kipsang.
He urged the student leaders to present any issues that may disrupt their studies or endanger students or property to the relevant authorities during the conference.
In 2012 the Acting Permanent Secretary for Education, Prof George Godia ordered that schools should move away from the prefect system of managing students and adopt a council system where students elect their own leaders.
Godia insisted that a resulting consultative management style will create room for students to air their views about the way they are administered much more easily than the autocratic system.
“Many of the cases of school unrest arise because the students do not have an outlet to express their views and complaints,” he said adding that students’ councils would help students to ventilate and enhance a peaceful teaching and learning environment.