Prefects are the students assigned with special responsibilities over their fellow students. They are usually assigned different roles depending on the existing departments in school. Main examples of prefects include;
- The head prefect
- Assistant head prefect
- Dormitory captains
- Time keeper
The school electoral process is usually like the normal political process. It includes announcing the available posts, nominating among the contestants and organizing elections so that students can pick their favorites. In some schools, prefects are simply appointed.
School prefects play a key role in maintaining order in the school, and they do that in the following ways;
1. Implementing school rules and policies
Whether the school has a few or very many school rules and regulations, students can’t just keep all that in practice without being constantly reminded. Therefore, it’s the role of prefects to remind students of things like;
- Proper dress code
- Time management
- Proper classroom, dormitory and compound conduct
Every school administrator knows the purpose of reminding both students and staff of what they should do, and that’s why the school always has a leadership hierarchy among both students and teachers.
2. Keeping fellow students in order
Certain virtues like punctuality are rarely learnt from home, and that’s why students usually rely on school; to learn such principles. However, it’s not an easy ride, as they have to always be forced by teachers and prefects to adhere to the timetables. Prefects do things like;
- Waking the students up in the morning
- Ringing the bell whenever it’s time for something else
- Checking the dormitories and potential hiding places to make sure that students aren’t hiding there.
3. Containing chaos and anarchy
Students are a mixture of children from different backgrounds and they were all brought up differently. Usually, students can mobilize themselves into chaotic things like strikes and brawls.
With the presence of prefects, the chaotic situations can always be contained before they result into permanent injuries and/or death of students in the end. They usually do this by;
- Physically parting the brawling students
- Talking the students out of violence
- Alarming teachers once the situation seems to go out of hand
- Identifying the culprits and reporting them to teachers so they’re eliminated
4. Detecting and reporting impending cases
One of the best things a prefect can help the school is detecting and reporting crimes that are possibly about to happen in the school. This is one of the best ways to prevent these crimes and make sure they don’t happen at all. They can do this by;
- Paying attention to students that display unusual or suspicious behavior
- Not ignoring any rumors of suspicion – much as they don’t have to act on rumors
- Having informants among the general population to provide information
Much as this can always be a flawed approach with lots of loopholes, it is always worth the try, because at least there’s some information and a couple of things to learn.
5. Reporting incompetent teachers
No matter how nosy and rude this might sound, teachers don’t have to be beyond reproach, and their every loophole has to be seen and reported as soon as possible. This is because any mistake can lead to the students’ failure. Signs of incompetent teachers include;
- Coming late for lessons
- Slow coverage of the syllabus
- Delaying feedback on how students have performed
- Use of bad language and/or profanity while addressing students
This doesn’t have to be done by the prefects only – and in turn, the school administrators don’t have to reveal the identity of the students that reported the teachers.
6. Making sure students don’t bring illegal items to school
Every school has its set of items that they just can’t tolerate inside their premises. However, the usual illegal items include;
- Weapons like knives, guns, etc
- Drugs and alcohol
- Mobile phones and other electronic gadgets
- Non-uniform clothes
Students can always make it across the school gate, and they know how to perfectly hide their illegal items from teachers, but not their fellow students.
7. Creating a peaceful study environment for students
While every school always has a large number of rowdy and chaotic students, there are many others that are focused and serious about learning. These students need a peaceful study environment, and this includes;
- Clean classrooms
- Silence in the study rooms
- No interruptions or intrusions from other students
Since the prefects also have to study, they have to be equally distributed in different study rooms to make sure that they maintain order in those rooms.
8. Handling minor cases before teachers
Sometimes, some cases don’t have to be forwarded to the teachers right away, because prefects can resolve them and prevent their fellow students from receiving heavy punishments. These include;
- Minor quarrels
- Small fights
- Confusion/ scrambling about property
9. Preventing monetary transactions
Some students, due to their personal reasons, conduct transactions within the confines of the school premises. That is illegal and not acceptable in the school premises, because it totally makes students lose focus on their education.
Prefects can do a wide range of things about this, but the main is intercept or report to teachers to intercept and confiscate illegal and/ or sold items.
In some cases, it’s been reported that students have fallen victim to their prefects after they exercised absolute authority over them. Therefore, having prefects is just important if they are not acting above their authority – and students have to be encouraged to report to teachers when prefects go overboard.