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Why school principals want president and deputy president titles scrapped

It’s not what you’re thinking. Student’s councils and Principals are headed for a collision after the Kenya Secondary Schools Heads Association (Kessha) proposed the scraping of the titles of President and Deputy President in schools.

More than 700 principals attending a workshop in Nakuru Town said the titles were confusing and were giving the wrong impression on the role of the students leadership in the management of the schools.

The capacity building workshop on strategic management of emerging challenges in secondary schools now want these titles changed to chairperson and vice chairperson.

According to Kessha, the councils whose existence is entrenched in the Education Acts are slowly turning into opposition wing in the institution.

AIDE-DE-CAMP

Alliance Girls High School Principal Dorothy  Kamwilu said that she was shocked when she visited a school and saw a president of a school council “behave like a president of  a country” as he had an aide-de-camp who escorted him to the podium to address a parents and teachers meeting.

“We must look for a way of going around this issue without creating any friction because what we had in mind is not what we are seeing as our students seem to have taken the leadership style a notch higher,” said Ms Kamwilu.

Kessha Programs officer Justus Maragara said that the two titles had made the council leaders behave like real Heads of State.

“These title have made the student council leaders behave like they had sweeping powers to do whatever they want and in some cases they are giving principals hard time as they say they are not consulted in key school decision making process,” said Mr Maragara.

PRINCIPALS TO BE LOYAL

Mr Maragara said problems resolution mechanism in schools was now jeopardized as some of the students leadership want the school principals to be loyal to them.

He said some students leaders want the students to first bring to their attention any grievances they have before taking them to school administrators.

Narrating some of the challenges the principals were undergoing, the Kessha official noted that some of the students leaders were suspending fellow students from school.

The official called on the principal to vet the students leaders thoroughly to ensure that only bright students who have no past indiscipline cases are elected.

STUDENTS LEADERSHIP HERE TO STAY

The principals, he said, should accept that the students leadership is here to stay and should not feel as if their powers have been usurped as they are not directly involved  in the nomination of the students leaders.

To avoid future friction, Mr Maragara suggested that the school principals should make sure the students leaders are fully inducted in the system to enable them know their rights and limitations

Some students leaders during the campaign make outrageous pledges such as ensuring the school has 60-inch flat TV screen yet the school has no such allocations.

The principals were drawn from Nyeri, Kiambu, Nakuru, Uasin Gishu, Kericho, Baringo, Narok, Kajiado, Kirinyaga and Nairobi.