The word prefect can refer to any of a number of types of official, including:
- in Latin, praefectus: a high-ranking military or civil official in the Roman Empire; the title now attaches to the heads of some departments of the Roman Curia, who are traditionally Cardinals, and if they are not are titled Pro-Prefect.
- in the context of schools, a prefect is a pupil who has been given authority over other pupils in the school, such as a hall monitor or safety patrol . In British public schools, prefects, usually sixth formers, have considerable power and effectively run the school outside the classroom. Once they were even allowed to administer corporal punishment. They usually answer to a senior prefect known as the Head of School (colloquially, Head Boy or Head Girl).
- in France, a prefect (préfet') is the State's representative in a région (thus called préfet de région) or département. His agency is called the préfecture. Sub-prefects (sous-préfets, sous-préfecture) operate in the arrondissements under his responsibility.
- in Italy a "prefect" ("Prefetto" ) is the State's representative in a province ("provincia"). His agency is called the "prefettura ".
Last updated: 08-19-2005 05:51:01