Enablers of learner leadership development in education
Elock Emvula Shikalepo, Selma Ndeyapo Kandjengo
The Namibian Basic Education Act No 3 of 2020 mandates schools to establish Learner Representative Councils. Learner Representative Councils are management bodies at schools comprised of learner leaders, as supporting leaders to the overall school leadership. The purpose of the study was to establish the practices conducive to the development of learner leadership in schools as required by statutory instruments. A case study design was used for the study, involving a school principal, teachers and learners in Oshana Region. All participants were selected using purposive sampling technique. The data was collected using document analysis, semi-structured questionnaires and interviews. The collected data was analysed using thematic analysis method. The study found that learner leadership is developed through a spirit of cooperation between different members of the school community. Cooperation helps learner leaders to execute their responsibilities successfully. In addition, conducting meeting with Learner Representative Council members is an important enabler for developing learner leaders, as the platform allows learner leaders to express applause, concerns and leadership aspirations, and to obtain guidance and mentorship from senior leaders. The finding also revealed that leadership development is nurtured through appropriate training interventions vested upon learner leaders to groom their skills and attitudes for improved leadership performance. The study concluded that learner leadership is an essential component of school leadership structure, requiring school authorities to be mindful of the factors essential for developing learner leadership structures, so that the structures are fully established and empowered to deliver outcomes as expected.