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Education, Youth and Culture Minister, Maxine Henry-Wilson, is projecting that by 2010, the number of Student Councils islandwide will increase by 100 per cent, following the revamping of the progamme three years ago.
The Minister who was launching Student Council Week, to be observed from February 12-17, during a special ceremony at the Ministry’s offices at National Heroes Circle today (February 8), said the National Secondary Students’ Council (NSSC) has been exceeding expectations.
In 2005, the Minister informed that the Youth Division of the Ministry hosted islandwide elections, which received oversight from the Office of the Political Ombudsman and the Citizens Action for Free and Fair Elections (CAFFE).
“The results of these elections surpassed our achievements of previous years. At last year’s elections alone, 115 of the approximately 160 secondary schools participated in the process,” she explained, adding that this was an increase of 141 per cent over the figure for 2004.
She said the Ministry was committed to providing opportunities for young people, and that last year, some $3 million was invested to facilitate the work of the Students’ Council. “This year it is proposed that the figure will double as we expect more of them this year,” she said.
The Minister said student councillors have been very vocal on the Task Force on Education, the Broadcasting Committee, the Safe Schools Programme Task Force, the HIV/AIDS Policy Intervention in Schools Committee, the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) as well as on the international stage.
Mrs. Henry Wilson said there were also plans to introduce the Student Council movement in the primary schools in an effort to hone the leadership skills of young children. “We want to ensure that the voices of students are heard, not only at the secondary and tertiary levels, but at the primary level as well,” she said.
The week’s activities will commence with a Church Service at the Ridgemount United Church in Mandeville, followed by Local Council Day on February 13; NSSC Awareness/Save Yu Life Campaign in Half-Way-Tree on February 14; Student Exchange Day on February 16, and an entertainment event dubbed NSSC Invasion at Carron Hall High School in St. Mary on February 17.