The leadership role and effectiveness of the Student Councils in three Jamaican high schools

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This study sought to examine the leadership role and determine the effectiveness of the student councils in Jamaican secondary schools, after their reorganization in 1978. Data were collected from questionnaires administered to a random sample of 28 respondents selected from the student councils of each of the selected schools (1 single-sex girls', 1 single-sex boys', and 1 co-educational) and 90 respondents from the student body of each of the three schools. The results of the analysis showed that: 1) on the whole, the student councils were structured according to the Ministry of Education guidelines; 2) the majority of the students were unaware of the regulations concerning the structure of the councils and the responsibilities of the councillors in their schools; 3) the student body was democratically represented on the councils through the elected form representatives; 4) the form representatives were not prompt in reporting the decisions of the councils to their peers, and there was a breakdown in the two-way communication that should have existed between the student body and the council; 5) fund raising was the main activity organized by the councils, with little or no emphasis being placed on the other activities recommended in the guidelines; 6) contrary to the proposed democratic guidelines for councillors, there was a tendency for those in the senior forms to make decisions on major issues without consulting the others; 7) although some School Board members had difficulty in accepting the student representatives on the Board, there were occasions when the student councillors had succeeded in encouraging the Board to make decisions considered to be in the best interest of the student body; 8) the students who had the opportunity to serve as councillors had benefited by experiencing a sense of involvement and a feeling of pride, and 9) in spite of some of the councils' areas of weakness, the students needed the councils, and would have been unhappy with their dissolution


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