Student Leadership in Selected Public Universities in Kenya: Disfranchised Pressure Groups or an Integral Component in University Management?
This paper was based on an exploratory study carried out on student leadership in three public universities in Kenya in 2004/2005 academic year. The study was premised on the challenges facing student leadership and the transformative roles student leadership
plays in the management of student affairs and overall university management. Data were collected using a self-administered questionnaire from a sample of 34 student leaders and analyzed through descriptive statistics. Findings showed that most student leaders were first born in their families. Most of the students' parents were in low to middle level occupational category in the public sector, with about 50% of them having attained at least some college training. Most of the students resided in urban centers, with a significant majority coming from the major urban centers in the country – namely, Nairobi, Kisumu, Eldoret, Nakuru and Nyeri. Student leaders were prompted to leadership interests by many
factors, including past leadership experience in high school, service to students, a learning experience, and to develop a culture of dialogue with university management. Despite these values and intentions, student leaders still faced many challenges in their efforts to achieve the intended goals. This ranged from institutional rigidities, high student expectations and skepticism, betrayal from students' body, low participation rates by female students and tribalism/regionalism. This study observed the transformative nature of student leadership compared to what it was two decades ago and encouraged that
student leadership is an integral component of modern university management
African Research Review Vol. 2 (3) 2008: pp. 195-221