ONE of the main priorities for the National Students’ Council this year will be the introduction of satellite councils in primary schools around the island.
Ajani Lebourne, President of the national body said that such a move will better prepare primary school students for secondary school life.
“This move ensures that students moving into secondary school will already have the experience of functioning on a council, hence, increasing their preparedness and maturity levels,” Lebourne said.
Lebourne, in his New Year address earlier this month congratulated the Augier Combined School for moving ahead and electing their first students’ council, which has already begun advocating for their students by opening talks with the school’s principal on a full lunch hour to allow students to destress after the morning teaching sessions.
With the advent of a new year, the National Students Council hopes to follow a programme of activities which caters for students with various needs and inclinations. This can only be accomplished through a collective effort from every single student sitting behind a classroom desk to those occupying executive roles to the teacher coordinators supervising their actions,” Lebourne said.
Last year was a landmark year for the students’ council movement and student advocacy on the island when students from the Sir Arthur Lewis Community College stood their ground and protested against a hike in school fees.
It was also a year when the National Students’ Council experienced a marked improvement in advocacy by standing in solidarity with the communique presented to Education Ministers at the 19th Conference of Commonwealth Education Ministers in June, which highlighted the need for dialogue among stakeholders in dealing with issues affecting students.
Another highpoint for the National Students’ Council last year was its hosting of the first ever National Students Forum, which provided an opportunity for students to openly express their sentiments on the education system while receiving informative responses from officials at the Ministry of Education.
Once a dormant movement, the students’ council movement is now enjoying a vibrancy Lebourne hopes to maintain this year.
“The National Students’ Council aims at providing representation for all students on the island and we’ll also be working closely with the southern branch of the Sir Arthur Lewis Community College to create an executive at that institution,” Lebourne said.
He spoke of training and educating students about the power they possess, factors that are critical in empowering them to be active in the students ’movement.
“Therefore, we and our affiliates aim to execute several training sessions geared at developing future leaders while paying attention to the marginalized and neglected students,” Lebourne said.
He expressed gratitude to Justice Mario Michel former Minister of Education for the establishment of the Justice Mario Michel Scholarship Fund which will provide scholarship opportunities for underprivileged high academic achievers. The fund will be launched publicly this year.
Lebourne believes that the student movement needs rebranding to be more attractive to the present generation and so plans to engage the national council in a drive to increase its social media presence.
“It is for this reason that the National Students’ Council has launched a logo competition to give our students the opportunity to create a face for their organization and to take ownership of it,” Lebourne said.
He added that the National Students’ Council will continue to remain steadfast in providing quality representation for students while enabling them to be leaders in their schools and communities.
“As we go forward in 2016 may we begin to see the importance for greater collaboration among affiliates and may each student of Saint Lucia experience a hunger to make a positive impact on the education system and work towards the development of their country,” Lebourne said.