First Student Council of the Human Rights Education programme in India
The student council module was introduced at the Al – Azhar Foundation School.
The Head Mistress and the teachers decided on the structure and form of the proposed student council. The roles and responsibilities of the council were also outlined by them. As this was the first student council in the school, the students were nominated by the faculty of the school.
The nominated students were asked to prepare short speeches on why other students should vote for them and then asked to campaign by going from class to class. Nominated students, who were generally reserved and timid, took this opportunity to speak up and have their voices heard. Once the election process had been completed and the votes had been tallied, the teachers were amazed to see that a Head Girl had been elected rather than a Head Boy; this was because the girls were very shy and quiet when compared to the opinionated and outspoken boys. The HRE team from Amnesty International India then conducted a training workshop with the students elected to the student council.
A brief synopsis of the first training session with the student council is as follows.The children, elected to the student council, were working in a group for the first time. However, they seemed to be very excited and were quite talkative in their groups; they were able to delegate tasks amongst themselves for the activities.
The teachers were very supportive and gave the students the opportunity to voice their opinions and ideas. After some persuading the HM decided not to sit in during the discussion as she realised that the students would be very nervous in her presence.
As they do not have previous experience with a student council an idea we presented them with was to have a session with the student council of another school; therefore, allowing them to share their experiences.
The plan ahead for the student council is:
- Discipline - work with teachers on how and where discipline can be maintained in the school.
- Suggestion box- work with the teachers to design a suggestion box. The student council introduces and encourages their friends to use the box. Student council will also regularly check the box and work with teachers on solving the issues raised.
- Events - Student council will work together with teachers to design and co-ordinate the events in the school. They will also take the help of other students for this.