UP hosts 74 high school head prefects at three-day training conference

Posted on October 12, 2018

The University of Pretoria was proud to host 74 Grade 11 learners at the third annual UP School Leaders Conference. The learners have all been chosen as head prefects for the 2019 school year, and came from schools in Gauteng and other provinces for three days of coaching and training by UP experts. The conference aims to help learners in their roles as future leaders of their schools, and potentially of their country.

“The main objective of the conference was to prepare these newly elected leaders for the challenges they may face,” says Dr Pieter Clase, Senior Assistant Director for Recruitment in UP’s Department of Enrolment and Student Administration (DESA). “The programme comprised presentations and interactive sessions that were interesting, relevant and informative.”

The conference took place from Friday 5 October to Sunday 7 October, kicking off with a warm welcome from UP staff when the learners arrived at the registration venue on the Hatfield Campus. After a tour of the Hatfield Campus, conference delegates were transported to the Kwalata Lodge in the Dinokeng Nature Reserve.

After settling in, it was time for ice-breakers, followed by informative talks on UP’s admission requirements, as well as a talk on leadership from Kiaan van Vuuren, who attended the UP School Leaders Conference in 2016 and is currently a first-year BA student at UP. Malique Ukena, who attended the conference in 2017, used well-known artists’ lyrics to deliver an interesting talk about leadership.

Saturday’s activities included a game drive, a session with Laughter Coach Bronwyn Kilroe, a talk on leadership from Prof Ronny Webber-Youngman, Head of UP’s Department of Mining Engineering, and physical problem-solving activities facilitated by Kwalata Lodge employees. Cecily Carmona led a session on the correct etiquette to follow during official meetings, which will come in handy for these future head prefects in their roles as chairpersons of leadership meetings at their respective schools. Wallace Isaacs, Deputy Director at DESA, used controversial questions to challenge the group in a fun way in his session “Get out of your comfort zone”.

Keynote speaker Prof Tiaan de Jager, Dean of UP’s Faculty of Health Sciences, delivered an inspiring address on preparing adequately for the demands of the tertiary education environment. During his speech, Prof De Jager announced that four bursaries to the value of R10 000 each were up for grabs that night in a lucky draw for learners planning to enrol for programmes in the health sciences in 2020.

On the last day of the conference, Wallace Isaacs led an open discussion on various topics, which gave learners the opportunity to air their views on current controversial issues. Parents then joined their children for the last session on the topic “Parent or Pal”, in which parents received valuable hints on parenting, and how to support their children in their leadership roles.

Along with leadership tips, the conference also provides a space for learners to network with peers currently going through many of the same experiences. Thanking the organisers for the opportunity, one of the learners said, “This was one of the best leadership camps I have ever attended. I learnt so much about myself and how to improve as a leader. This was a life-changing experience that I will never forget. I also made friends that I know will last forever.”

If you'd like to read the e-book version of the conference brochure, watch a video of the event, or view the image gallery, click on the relevant link below:

- Author DESA

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