Around the world, November 17 is celebrated as International Students’ Day,
a day that highlights the significant role that students have played as change makers.
I have longbelieved that a student should be the conscience of society, willing to defend the less fortunate and to advocate not only for the rights of students but the promulgation of equal rights and justice.
On this International Students’Day, I congratulate our student-based organizations, especially the National Secondary Schools Council (NSSC) and the Jamaica Union of Tertiary Students (JUTS), and encourage them to deepen their resolve, strengthen their advocacy, and constantly lead the search for the solutions to our country’s gravest problems.
At the secondary level, the Ministry has carried out a comprehensive audit of all schools to ascertain the status of the Student Councils. By way of the Education Act, every secondary school is to have a democratically elected student council with a teacher representative selected by the students. Additionally, the Student Council representative is to sit on the school board. Where these are absent, the Ministry will be working with both the schools and the NSSC to install representation.
At the tertiary level, we continue to support the revamping and revitalization of JUTS, including their constitutional review. Today they have introduced a new logo and will later host a Twitter town hall about student governance in Jamaica. I applaud these efforts, which only serve to strengthen their role as architects of a new Jamaica.
Finally, it has come to my attention, that unfortunately at some of our major tertiary institutions, students who form groups affiliated to our major political parties are forced to operate in isolation or secret. Failing to recognize these groups and continuously leaving them out of the co-curricular transcript is a trend that demonizes political service. It must stop. I use this International Students’ Day to encourage our tertiary institutions to give political clubs the same regard and status as other service organizations.
We have a tremendous opportunity to change Jamaica. Our students have the talent and the vision, we will provide the platform. As we continue to Energize Youth this month, I encourage all students to commit to creating a new Jamaica, a Jamaica that will truly increase in beauty, fellowship and prosperity and play her part in advancing the welfare of the entire human race.
CAPTION: Hon. Floyd Green, Minister of State in the Ministry of Education, Youth and Information