School is a place that not only benefits students academically, it also gives them the chance to uncover and use their talents, for instance; through sports, music, dance, drama, writing, creativity and leadership.
Leadership is the art of motivating a group of people to act towards achieving a common goal. School leaders usually offer a chance to students to take on prefects’ positions every year, and this serves a great benefit to students now and in the future, but how?
Richard Kaweesi, the chief executive of Brain Teasers Rwanda, says that the student council is an opportunity to learn the skills of leadership during high school and college, for example, team building. This is one of the most essential skills that students learn by being part of the student council. Being leaders of certain groups and societies, students learn to establish goals, delegate responsibility and give directions to their peers on executing tasks successfully.
“Students are also able to learn the skill of interactive and effective communication and they become good listeners. They get skilled to be flexible and obtain the skills to mentor groups of students to perform to their finest capacity. This offers them an important learning and practical experience for their future,” Kaweesi says.
Enos Tumwikirize, a Kigali Parents’ School teacher, says practicing leadership at an early age at school level gives a student an opportunity to develop the expertise of leadership. The student learns to become responsible and is able to solve problems in the lives of their classmates.
Tumwikirize adds that students learn how to approach people through the interaction they get as they direct their fellow students to perform activities.
Kaweesi says that students in authority learn to utilise resources. Being in a student council equips students with innumerable skills, including resource allocation and resource use. Utilisation of resources is one of the key skills that, if learnt correctly, will help students lead a group efficiently. Such skills help them utilise the resources available to them in the best possible manner to achieve maximum results.
“Student leaders learn discipline because they want to uphold their dignity as leaders. This discipline shapes them into better future leaders. Remember, a leader needs good discipline if he or she is to serve others with diligence and fairness,” Tumwikirize notes.
Kaweesi further says that being in a position of leadership can teach students to take on multiple responsibilities. However, all tasks are not urgent or require immediate attention. Students must learn how to prioritise tasks according to their importance and need for immediate attention. To be able to prioritise, a person must have a clear vision and knowledge of their goals. This will enable them to efficiently prioritise in terms of time, man power and resources required for each task.
He also adds that as a student leader, students get ample opportunities to speak out in public and communicate with large groups of audiences. They are responsible for leading task forces and managing groups of people. Moreover, they have to be assertive in order to push people forward and help them work. They are also supposed to take certain risks as well as make important decisions.
Kaweesi adds that they have to stand firm in difficult times. All of this helps students build their self-confidence and makes them able to take on tough challenges with determination. Their self-assurance will help them execute all tasks in the best possible manner.
Tumwikirize explains that student leaders get confidence and self-expression when carrying out leadership. This comes most especially when their schools give them the chance to say something during school assemblies, even when they are doing open campaigns in school. Confidence and self-expression aspects are strong tools which can shape one’s leadership standard.
Kaweesi says that many students in leading positions know that their actions and decisions can make a difference. This inspires them to be more proactive and alters their attitude towards their work and their life. They are dedicated to bringing change and working passionately to make a difference in the world and in the life of others. This dedication and the determination to make a difference stays with them throughout their lives, pushing them forward and helping them change the world with their actions.