Youths are Leaders of Today – Mrs Okonkwo

By Alexander Johnson Adejoh

A leadership summit organized by the Post Primary School Service Commission (PPSSC), Anambra State, has been held in Awka. It was aimed at educating prefects in public schools about leadership.

This summit took a new phase in the state as all public schools within the state gathered to observe the event last Monday.

This year’s summit with the theme: “Leadership; A Call to Service”, also had the following sub-themes: ”The Place of Prefects in an Enviable School Administration”; ”Teamwork in Leadership”; and ”Ideal Approach to Punishment”.

Speaking at one of the schools in Awka, Mrs Ngozi Okonkwo, the Principal, Kenneth Dike Memorial Secondary School, urged school prefects to see the summit as an opportunity for them to showcase their God given talents in organization and maintaining discipline with a high sense of humility.

Mrs Okonkwo, who stated this while explaining the role played by prefects in school administration, maintained that the role of prefects in maintaining order and discipline in the school could not be exaggerated as prefects served as ambassadors of the school.

She defined a prefect as a student with leadership qualities, either selected by the school authority or elected by students, and given certain powers to control and guide other students. She added leadership qualities boosted one’s chances of being a prefect.

‘The major reason why students are given leadership roles is to impart participatory leadership skills that they will need in both their working and social environments after leaving school. In good, performing schools, prefects are so efficient and effective that the role of teachers is limited to teaching and carrying out other academic duties,’ Okonkwo said.

Speaking to Fides, the form teacher of JS 2 C & D, Mrs Anulika Adibe, said in the past, prefects were so powerful that they could run the school in the absence of the school authorities, and that in some cases they would administer corporal punishment. She regretted that this had since been changed.

She noted that today, prefects were no longer feared and respected in schools but said no one was to be blamed, but rather the prefects as respect was reciprocal.

She told them that to be disciplinarians, they must lead by example by being disciplined themselves.

Among the dignitaries that attended the event were the Chairman, Parent-Teacher-Association (PTA), Kenneth Dike Memorial Secondary School, Awka, Pastor Chukwuemeka Dike; the Principal, Kenneth Dike Memorial Secondary School, Awka, Mrs Okonkwo Ngozi; Vice Principals, representatives of NYSC, and many others.