Assessment of Student Leaders’ Skills Critical in Managing Student Affairs in Public Universities in Kenya

Murage Lucy Muthoni, Njoka Johannes Njagi, Gachahi Michael Wambugu


The need to prevent eruption of unrests among students in universities continues to exercise the minds of higher education managers and policy makers in the world. Innovative approaches in the management of higher education designed to preclude students’ riots continue to face immense challenges and ineffectiveness in universities in Kenya. One of the widely adopted approaches is that of involving democratically elected student leaders in the management of students’ affairs in universities in Kenya. Despite the involvement of student leaders in the management of students’ affairs in public universities, students’ protests and riots continue to characterize higher education in Kenya. Consequently, there is need to examine the leadership skills that student leaders are expected to possess in order to perform their functions effectively so as to avert upsurge of strikes. This study sought to assess the student leaders’ skills that are critical in managing student affairs in selected public universities in Kenya. The study adopted the descriptive survey research design. Stratified random sampling was used to select student leaders from four public universities. The sample comprised 19 members of student governing councils, 50 class representatives and 79 clubs and society leaders, making a total of 142 respondents. Data was collected using questionnaires. Data was analysed using both descriptive and inferential statistics. The results revealed that 66.3% of student leaders had leadership competence to organize welfare activities to address students’ concerns in their institutions while 33.7% lacked capability. Further, the study established that leadership skills significantly contributed to effective provision of student affairs services. It is concluded that institutions of higher learning have not fully empowered student leaders to effectively perform their leadership tasks. The study recommends that student leaders should be exposed to regular leadership trainings during their tenure designed to equip them with necessary leadership competencies which would promote their effectiveness in enhancing university stability, peace and mutually accepted governance.

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