By Abdul Wali Abdali
“Children are immature, innocent and irresponsible, they cannot take any responsibility to perform in the school affairs” these are some satirical statements we usually hear from the school management and teachers. This perception has been an impediment in the way students’ achievements. It is a fact that in our context students are not given responsibilities to perform in the school. A centralized system prevails in the school and single principal performs all the academic and administrative tasks. But contrary to this school governance is the subject which requires all the stakeholders such as parents, SMC, Students and teachers to be actively involved in whatever is initiated in the school. Moreover, literature is rich talking about students’ participation in school management. Taking part in decision making is the right of students’ (abdall, 2014). Moreover, hearing students’ voices and making them part of the process enhances their learning such as leadership skills, confidence, communication skill and other inter and intra personal skills.
When we study the western school governance we come across a sound system of students’ participation in school governance. They have systems in place such as students’ government, students’ council and other committees with full autonomy and resources. The whole system is operated by the students and they are involved in decision making in the school and classroom and attend meetings regularly. At the same time students enjoy the same respect and treatment as teachers. Above all, students are involved in recruiting the teaching staff and construction of school buildings as well. Students are empowered enough to disagree with teachers and principal. Protest is observed when their voices are not heard . It means they value and respect their new generation and this is the reason they have touched the climax of development.
Unfortunately, our practices mismatch with the developed world; instead of making them part of the process and solution we label them part of the problem. Instead of hearing students we pass them with satirical statements which ultimately harm their self-esteem. Point to ponder is that whatever is planned or decided in the school, who it is for? The answer is simply for students. If it is so why students are not listened and made part of the decision. Their involvement makes the decision strong as their interest likes and dislikes, needs and wishes are taken into consideration. Consequently students will own the decision and implement it with letter and sprite. Let’s take the example of class representative, if there arises any issue in the class CR is the immediate authority to solve the problem before it gets worse. This is a single example and countless examples can be presented in this regard. The problem doesn’t stop only mourning on why don’t we make students part of school governance but what is next is more important.
In this regard principal plays important role to make students part of the school management. Talking about the role of principal Mncube, (2009) suggests that listening to pupils, encouraging their participation and giving them more power and responsibility leads to a better functioning school. Let’s reflect on our practices and make a move ahead to make the students part of our school for a better and peaceful society.
The writer is pursuing Master in Educational Leadership & Management from The Aga Khan University, Institute for Educational Development (AKU-IED), Karachi, Pakistan.