Student leadership preparation in secondary schools: a case study in Siaya county, Kenya

Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Education (MEd)

First Supervisor/Advisor

Dr. Abdalla Mohamed

Second Supervisor/Advisor

Dr. Mweru Mwingi


Institute for Educational Development, East Africa


Preparation of student leaders for their roles has been found to be important for effective linkage of the student population with staff and administration as a way of incorporating ‘student voice’ in secondary school administration. This study was prompted by the persistent violent student unrests in secondary schools in Kenya, which have been blamed on lack of student involvement in school governance. It is argued that leadership can be learnt and that specific strategies can be used by individuals and groups to enhance the leadership skills of student leaders for them to participate effectively in leadership in schools. Using qualitative research approach and case study design, the study set out to investigate how schools prepared student leaders for their roles. Data was collected using document analysis of student leadership training and conference reports as well as in-depth and focus group interviews with thirty student leaders, six class teachers, three deputy principals in three secondary schools and one official of the Ministry of Education at County level. The study revealed that student leadership preparation occurred both formally and informally in schools which used different methods and resource persons to achieve this. Formally, student leadership preparation programmes existed from school up to national levels while informally, schools used skills of more experienced student leaders to foster those of newly elected ones often in an ad hoc manner. It was thus concluded that although student leaders were prepared for leadership roles, this preparation was neither comprehensive nor structured in a way to achieve uniformity in all schools. Guided by a conceptual framework on student leadership preparation, it is recommended that education stakeholders give student leadership preparation the seriousness it deserves if schools are to achieve their mandates and experience lasting harmony.

This document is available in the relevant AKU library