Where Student Leadership meets Nation Building

  • Jul 28, 2019

"Show me the heroes that the youth of your country look up to, and I will tell you the future of your country." - Idowu Koyenikan. A frequent inquiry among secondary school students is that which concerns the correlation between their role as leaders and nation building. Many have sought answers through hypothetical discourse or, at times, through experiential assumptions, but few have been able to put a means to this end. The basis of my inquiry, however, stands not as a search for the definitive and conclusive, rather, as a continual stream of learning which sheds light on the subject as time progresses.

In order for us to approach this subject with authority, we must first outline the facts of the matter. A survey conducted by the Secretariat of the Jamaica Prefects' Association in 2019 showed that 45% of Head Students felt confident within their role. In that same survey, it was found that just under half of the student leaders who were interviewed believed that they had little contribution to make towards nation building. Ladies and gentlemen, to put this into perspective: 1. up to that point in time, more than half of our student leaders lacked confidence in their respective roles (for the sake of this discussion, I refer to Head Prefects), and 2. there is little that is known about nation building among student leaders, myself included.

One may be tempted to dismiss such claims, with the argument that there is considerable distance between a student's lack of confidence and his/her potential to contribute to nation building. But, if you are so inclined to believe, I will suggest that the two are very much related.

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