Education ministry to review students' councils
The Ministry of Education, Youth and Information will be reviewing students' councils across the island to ensure that these bodies are actively engaged and functioning at an optimal level.
State Minister Floyd Green said it has come to the attention of the ministry that some councils are not as active as they should be in representing the interests of the student body. He noted that students' councils play an important role in the effective operation of secondary schools.
"You have a position to play, by law. It is enshrined in the Education Act and, as such, we expect that every single secondary school will have a students' council president, a students' council body, and that the president will sit on the board of the institution and participate in the governance of the school," he said. "It is important that students have a say in how their schools are run. Schools are set up to serve you the students." Green was addressing the installation ceremony for executive members of the National Secondary Students' Council (NSSC), held recently at the Institute of Jamaica in Kingston.
Under the Education Act of 1980, all public secondary institutions must have a students' council, which consists of elected representatives from the student body, with at least one staff adviser also selected by the students. The council has the right to democratically elect their own representatives; have representation on the school board; meet with the principal and staff on any matter affecting students' interests; and hold regular meetings to conduct business on the students' behalf, with due regard to the smooth functioning of the institution.
The 20-member NSSC executive, which will serve from September 2016 to August 2017, is comprised of representatives of schools spanning the six education regions.
Continuing the legacy
These are The Queen's School, Wolmer's Boys', Camperdown High, Campion College, Denham Town High, and St Hugh's High in Kingston and St Andrew; Morant Bay High and Paul Bogle High from St Thomas; Ferncourt High in St Ann; Mt Alvernia High in St James; Belmont Academy and Frome Technical High in Westmoreland; DeCarteret College, Belair High and Manchester High in Manchester; Clarendon College in Clarendon; and St Jago High and Cedar Grove Academy in St Catherine. Professor Trevor Munroe executive director, National Integrity Action, who was the guest speaker, encouraged the students to continue the legacy of activism that encourages positive social change.
"The empowerment of students at the school level is an important apprenticeship in democracy. Such preparation for participation in democracy at the school level is absolutely essential if our young people are to fulfil their role in enhancing Jamaica's democracy," Professor Munroe said.