Challenges Faced by Student Leaders in Managing Student Affairs in Public Universities in Kenya

Lucy Muthoni Murage, Johannes Njoka, Michael Gachahi


Effective management of student affairs in public universities continue to pose a major challenge to university administrators and student leaders in many parts of the world including Kenya. Public universities are perpetually ravaged by rampant incidences of student unrests and strikes yet innovative approaches meant to curb such incidences have been adopted that involved student leaders in governance of institutions of higher learning. The effectiveness of these innovative approaches in university governance is not clearly documented. The rationale of the study was to analyse the challenges faced by student leaders in managing student affairs in public universities in Kenya. The study employed descriptive survey research design. Stratified random sampling was used to select student leaders from public universities in Kenya. The sample size comprised of 19 members of student governing councils, 50 class representatives and 73 clubs and society leaders, making a total of 142 respondents. Data was collected using questionnaires. Analysed data revealed that 50.4% of the student leaders experienced challenges while executing their functions. The major challenges included conflict between academic pursuits and leadership roles, lack of teamwork among student leaders and students’ ignorance of university policies and statutes. The study further established a strong and statistically significant relationship between the challenges faced by student leaders and effective student affairs services in public universities at 0.05 levels of significant with a Pearson correlation coefficient of 0.789. The study concluded that challenges experienced by student leaders may impede effective discharge of their duties and may result in poor service delivery leading to incidences of riots. The study recommends that student leaders should be assisted to solve internal problems that may affect the effective discharge of their duties as a way of addressing unrests in public universities.


Challenges, Democracy, Harnessing Student Leadership, Participative Leadership

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