One of the greatest
challenges that any school faces is to produce young
people that will go into the world and make a positive
contribution to their community. Ever since Vajiravudh
College was founded in 1910, it has been aspiring to
produce “young men who are physically and morally clean,
and who will be looking forward keenly to take up
whatever burden their future may lay upon them”. The
reality of human endeavor is that most of the time the
majority of people don’t take the lead and we make
mistakes, but hopefully we learn from them and can pick
ourselves up and aspire to do better.
The new leadership
programme is an acknowledgement that leadership can be
learnt, and everyone should therefore be given the
opportunity to learn to lead. This change in
understanding recognizes that all students in the senior
school at Vajiravudh must be given the opportunity to
develop as leaders, gain knowledge of themselves and
develop the maturity to take responsibility for their
actions. The new programme that is being implemented
has been carefully thought out and has the complete
support of the Housemasters and the School Board.
Essential to its success is the concept of support for
each student from his Housemaster, Assistant Housemaster
and Tutor, who monitor, encourage and challenge him.
The programme will allow students to experience and
reflect on their leadership practice, and grow in
character and moral courage, as they deal with both
success and failure.
is an integral part of every student’s education at
Vajiravudh. Students are challenged to understand that
leadership is more than a position – it is an attitude,
a way of being and an understanding of the importance of
serving others. Everyone gets called upon to lead at
some stage in their life, and the school wants every
student to have the mindset and skills necessary to be
an effective leader. The leadership programme is
designed to be progressive from Mattayom 1 – 6, allowing
students to understand who they are and to understand
The past practice at
Vajiravudh was that the choice of Prefects was based on
the votes of students and staff. The choice was
therefore frequently based on their success and
popularity in previous years. The students chosen to be
Prefects were then put into a position of power and
privilege. On the whole this system worked reasonably
well, and the innate quality of the students chosen,
together with the support of their parents and the
Housemaster, often made them into capable leaders.
However, this model has some serious weaknesses. There
was an overemphasis on position, with little emphasis on
character, knowledge and skills. The truth is also that
several students, once made Prefects, did very little to
earn the respect of their peers, teachers and other
students. Some even abused the authority they had been
given. In addition, this model led to significant
frustration for those students who were capable of
learning to lead, but were not selected. In fact there
were always those who even though not selected proved to
be outstanding leaders, but who could not enjoy the
formal acknowledgement of being a Prefect.
The new model has the
Each student will:
on leadership, which will increase his knowledge and
understanding of the different leadership paradigms.
Housemasters, Assistant Housemasters and Tutors in each
House will be able to reflect back to the students on
their progress and guide them.
exercise a leadership role in the school by setting an
example to others of the high standards of personal
behaviour, integrity and hard work.
need to serve
the wider community through participation in the
community service programme.
Most students will
1) be given the opportunity to mentor a junior student
and help him to succeed at Vajiravudh College.
2) prove to be worthy of selection as a Prefect and have
a specific portfolio in his House or in the School where
he will be able to exercise leadership.
Ultimately the aim
through this programme is that the student leader of
Vajiravudh will have learnt to take responsibility of
himself, act with integrity and demonstrate moral
courage; to have developed the self-esteem necessary to
see himself as a leader, with an understanding of the
role and with the ability to work effectively in a team
where he would value collaboration and diversity.
Leaders would be assisted to value and nurture
relationships even when difficult, and learn to hold
people accountable. A leader at Vajiravudh would
demonstrate a willingness to accept failure,
frustrations and challenges, and learn from them. Most
importantly, they would enjoy and value the work, not
the title, and in all of this be generous, caring and
keen to make a positive contribution to helping the
people they lead.