Have Saint Lucian students regained their voice?

“For Us, BY Us”: Taking their future into their own hands, the National Students’ Council (NSC) body.

“For Us, BY Us”: Taking their future into their own hands, the National Students’ Council (NSC) body.

There was once upon a time a certain vibrancy among student councils in Saint Lucia, which gave a sense of pride and confidence to many secondary school students. Along the way however, something killed it! Many have pondered on the reasons for this with some pointing fingers local politics for infiltrating the National Youth Council, which oversaw the running of local student councils. Naturally this has been denied by many a NYC leader, but the records show that many have found themselves smack in the belly of the political beast.

On Friday November 15 however there seemed to be little apprehension and more optimism when the National Students’ Council (NSC) in conjunction with the National Youth Council (NYC) presented the National Students’ Council Conference at the Marigot Secondary School Auditorium.  All secondary schools were in attendance on the day with the exception of the Entrepot Secondary.

According to Mr. Marius James, Field Officer for the NYC, the aim of the National Students’ Conference was “to put in place a structure for the National Students’ Council, and to bring out its mandate”.

“This was necessary because in the past there was a very active National Students’ Council, but it had been inactive for some time. “After a seven-year hiatus, it was realized that secondary school students needed a channel by which they could voice their issues and concerns.  In order to do so effectively, the NYC embarked firstly on visiting all secondary schools, and ensuring that they all had vibrant Students’ Councils. After accomplishing this, it was then possible to bring all these Councils together and ultimately elect an executive body, for effective decision-making, that would intern influence students like themselves in a positive manner.”

Mr. James continued by stating that the main challenge encountered by the NYC in this venture, was that “due to the secondary schools’ mandates and the NSC’s constitution being different, the NSC’s constitution had to be changed.”

In terms of the positives, he applauded “the cooperation and support of teaching staff of all secondary schools, towards the revitalization of Students’ Councils in their schools.

The day certainly belonged to the students, who had the honour of conducting all of the proceedings. The activity, which promoted a “For Us, By Us” philosophy, was designed to encourage interaction and discussion among them, in deciding the way forward for the Council.  There was another short presentation outside for the teachers who had accompanied the students, and for the remainder of the day, they simply observed and assisted the students when necessary.

In order to accomplish the aim of the conference, the main activity of the day was to appoint the executive for the NSC. Due to its reform, an interim executive was elected in February of this year. Following past customs, that the executive be changed every November, this interim executive did not get to serve the expected full term of one year. Nevertheless, they had nothing but positives to highlight about their experience, although it was a shortened tenure.

With a new executive for the NSC  now elected, the representatives and their respective posts are as follows: President – Princess Joseph (St. Joseph’s Convent);

Vice-President (Districts 1-4) – Jaden Joseph (St. Mary’s College); Vice-President (Districts 5-8) – Trona Constable (Vieux Fort Comprehensive Secondary School); General Secretary – Ajani Lebourne (Vieux Fort Comprehensive Secondary School);

Assistant Secretary -Rakym Charlemagne (Leon Hess Secondary School); Treasurer Jedda Alcee (St. Joseph’s Convent); Public Relations Officer, Perdita Francis (St. Joseph’s Convent).

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