The role of prefects in the governance of public secondary schools in Machakos Central Division, Machakos District, Kenya
Muli, Michael Wambua
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The role of student leaders in school administration in Kenya and other parts of the world is increasingly becoming more complex because of the changes in technology, society, culture, encroachment of democracy and emerging issues such as child rights, human rights, HIV/AIDS and drugs. This has brought about the participatory role among the Board of Governors, the teachers, students and parents. This calls for a need to balance roles shared in school governance between the administration, teachers and prefects to ensure its effectiveness. However, the increase in the number of cases of indiscipline among students in public secondary schools, manifested in the burning of schools and even loss of life, raises questions on the role of prefects in the governance of schools. It was in this light that the researcher embarked on determining the role of prefects in the governance of Public Secondary Schools in Machakos Central Division. The study employed the survey research design. The target population was the twenty four (24) Public Secondary Schools in the Division. A sample size of twelve (12) schools was randomly selected through stratified sampling to ensure fair representation of the various categories of schools found in the Division. The respondents were the twelve (12) principals, twelve (12) deputy principals, thirty six (36) teachers, sixty (60) prefects and two hundred and ten (210) students to total to three hundred and thirty (330) respondents. However, one school from the target population was picked for a pilot study. The researcher specifically developed separate questionnaires for principals, deputy principals, teachers, prefects and students to suit each type of respondent and administered them personally. For qualitative data, descriptive statistics entailing means, frequencies and percentages were utilized. The study revealed that the, prefects are appointed by administrators, teachers and students jointly (77.8%), teachers alone (22.2%), administrators alone (8.1%) and teachers alone (13. .5%). Several attributes are used in selecting prefects; academic performance (11.1%), good behaviour (11.1%), discipline (11.1%), leadership qualities (11.1%), communication skills (22.2%) or a combination of all the above (33.3%). The major roles of prefects include; areas of study (11.1%), supervising duties in school (33.3%), monitoring students (22.2%) and assisting the administration in management (22.2%). The study concluded that; school use different criteria of appointing prefects depending on the culture of the school and the prefects are prepared through training, seminars and prefects symposia.
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