NSSC Draft Handbook by 81a2A3IL


This handbook is intended to act as a guide for student councillors so as to
enable them to effectively perform their roles and duties. This handbook will
systematically show student councillors how to deal with student matters in
ways that are appropriate.

This document was developed through the concerted effort of student
councillors present at the 2006 Capacity Building Workshop of the National
Secondary Students’ Council. Through this Workshop, participants were divided
into groups to work on different sections of the handbook, cumulating their
thoughts, ideas and experience into the completed draft.
                           TABLE OF CONTENTS
SECTION I                                                 5
INTRODUCTION                                              5
  History                                                 6
  Vision                                                  6
  Mission                                                 7
EDUCATION ACT (1980)                                      7
NATIONAL YOUTH POLICY                                     8
SECTION II                                               10
WHAT IS A STUDENTS’ COUNCIL?                             10
WHY HAVE A STUDENTS’ COUNCIL?                            10
ROLE OF THE STUDENTS’ COUNCIL                            11
THE STUDENT COUNCILLOR                                   14
  Roles and Responsibilities of the Student Councillor   14
  Code of Conduct for the Student Councillor             14
PROCEDURES                                               16
  Establishing a students’ council                       16
ELECTIONS                                                16
MEETINGS OF THE STUDENT COUNCIL                          19
  The Agenda                                             20

SECTION FOUR                                             22
  Role of President                                      22
  Tips for President                                     22
  Role of Vice President                                 23
  Role of Secretary                                      24
  Tips for Secretary                                     24

  Role of Treasurer                                                        25
  Role of Public Relations/Communications Officer                          26
STUDENT COUNCIL MEMBERS                                                    26
  Role of student council member                                           26
  Advice for student council member                                        27
STAFF ADVISOR                                                              28
  Role and responsibilities of the student council staff/faculty advisor   28

SECTION FIVE                                                               32
ACTIVITIES OF STUDENT COUNCILS                                             32
  Planning                                                                 32
  Some activities for student councils                                     32
  School Development Projects                                              33
  Fund-raising                                                             34
SECTION SIX                                                                36
LEADERSHIP                                                                 36
  Motivation                                                               36
  Discipline                                                               36
ADVOCACY                                                                   37
  How to be an effective advocate                                          38
  Procedures for representation                                            38
COUNSELLING SKILLS                                                         40
  ADMINISTRATION, STAFF AND PARENTS                                        42
NEGOTIATING SKILLS                                                         43
  Negotiation action plan                                                  44
CONSULTATIONS                                                              45
SECTION SEVEN                                                              46
SANCTIONS                                                                  46

  Removing a member from the student council   46
  Filling a vacancy                            46
  Disciplinary procedures for Councillors:     46
  Achievements:                                47

SECTION EIGHT                                  48
  Aims and Objectives of the NSSC              48
  Structure of the NSSC                        49
  NSSC National Executive                      49
  Local Council                                50
  The Regional Council                         50
  Frequency of Meetings                        50
  Regional/National Elections:                 50
APPENDICES                                     54
SAMPLE OF A MEETING AGENDA                     54
SAMPLE OF MINUTES                              54
SCHOOLS DIRECTORY                              55

                                  SECTION I

Student councils give students a voice and the opportunity to work in
partnership with the school administration and staff to improve their schools.
Students, principals and teachers in schools with democratic and effective
student councils report that enormous benefits are gained through the work of
student councils.

Student councils are provided for in the Education Act (1980), as a means of
students being involved in the affairs of the school. Additionally, young people
are   afforded freedom of expression          and appropriate participation in
policymaking under both the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the
Child and the National Youth Policy (2004).

A student councillor is responsible for advocating for students’ rights, elevating
the standards of student life and upholding the ideas of the National Secondary
Students’ Council while highlighting students’ responsibilities.
A student councillor is an important representative as he or she represents the
students of each school without whom the students are rendered defenceless
against any injustice that they may face. These persons are responsible for
serving, leading, guiding and advocating on behalf of Jamaican students and as
such are largely facilitators to an end or mediators in a process. The educating of
students is vital as students are still unaware of the fact that there are set laws
that govern how students are to be treated and that they play an important role
in the decision making process.



The National Secondary Students’ Council was established in 1975, through a
policy brought before government in 1973. This policy came as a response to the
growing demand for effective student representation and the need for students’
involvement in the decision making process of schools at the all levels. This was
legally brought about by the Education Act of 1980, which stated that “every
public education institution shall have a students’ council, which shall consist of
elected representatives of students with at least one staff advisor, elected by

The National Secondary Students’ Council has evolved over the years to become
an institution that advocates strongly on behalf of students of Jamaican
secondary schools. The programme was revamped in 2003 under the leadership
of the Director of the National Centre for Youth Development and currently
represents 162 secondary schools and over 300,000 students.

The NSSC continues its representation of Jamaica’s students with the guiding
philosophy, “responsible students make the difference”.


A dynamic core of responsible and well trained students, recognized at all levels
of society, empowered and committed to nation building through exemplary
leadership and service.


To advocate for the rights and welfare of secondary level students while
highlighting their responsibilities; thus creating motivated and empowered
students, demonstrating positive values and attitudes thereby contributing to the
development of the Jamaican society.

Jamaica, in its bid to give students a legitimate avenue of participation, legislated
the formation of student councils in the Education Act of 1980. The roles and
responsibilities of these councils, especially at the secondary level, were also
outlined by the Regulations. According to the Education Regulations 1980:
          “Every public educational institution shall have a Students’ Council, which shall
           consist of elected representatives of students with at least one Staff Advisor
           elected by the students.
          Through the student councils at the secondary and tertiary levels the student
           shall have the right to –
                   a. Democratically elect their representatives;
                   b. Have representation on the board of the institution;
                   c. Meet with the principal, and staff or both, on any matter affecting
                       the students’ interest, and;
                   d. Hold regular meetings to conduct business on their behalf, but
                        with due regard to the smooth functioning of the institution.”1
              “Where the principal suspends a student he shall forthwith –
                   a. Give notice of the suspension to the student council and the parent or
                        guardian; and,
                   b. Make a report to the Board, stating the reasons for the suspension.”2

    Education Regulations 1980, Subsection 32, p.16
    Ibid, subsection 30, p.15

            “Without prejudice to the powers of a principal under regulation 303, where a
             student breaches the rules of a school and if, after normal disciplinary actions
             and counselling have been taken, his behaviour continues to be disruptive and
             wasteful of time and resources, the matter may be referred by the principal to
             the student council for their study and recommendation.”4

The Convention on the Rights of the Child is the first legally binding
international instrument to incorporate the full range of human rights—civil,
cultural, economic, political and social rights.
The UN Convention on the Rights of the Child was ratified by Jamaica in [year].
Children and young people are accorded rights on a number of issues including:
              The right to education
              The right to be free from exploitation, violence and abuse
              The right to have their voice heard on issues which affect them
              The right to freedom of expression;
              The right to freedom of association and to freedom of peaceful

The National Youth Policy defines a common vision and framework for youth
development. It articulates the roles and responsibilities of youth in their
personal and national development and serves as a tool for advocating positive
youth development.5 The policy is supported by the National Strategic Plan for
Youth Development, which guides its implementation.
The National Youth Policy has six (6) overarching goals including:

  Subsection 30 gives principals the power to suspend any student whose conduct is detrimental to the
institution’s discipline or whose acts in a manner that is injurious to staff or other students.
  Education Regulations 1980, subsection 29, p. 15
  National Youth Policy (2004), Executive Summary, pg. 9

                All youth completing secondary level education and acquiring the
                 life skills to enable them to be prepared for livelihood, self-
                 development and citizenship6
                The development of a culture that allows for the full participation of
                 youth in the social, spiritual, economic and political processes of the
                The right to be free from exploitation, violence and abuse
                The right to have their voice heard on issues which affect them
                 (Section 12)

    Ibid, Education and Training, pg. 27
    Ibid, Empowerment and Participation, pg. 31

                                    SECTION II

A Students’ Council is a representative structure, comprising of students who
have been democratically elected by their class to advocate on their behalf, thus
working in partnership with the school administration, teachers, parents and all
other stakeholders to ensure the development and sustenance of a supportive
learning environment.

Clearly, the mandate of Student Councils goes beyond that of any other youth
organisation in this and most countries: it is the student’s voice and ears in all
matters related to the operation of his/her institution of learning. It is an avenue
through which students can make administrators aware of the issues facing the
students in the schools. The Council represents a medium for addressing issues
as well as for student participation in the education system.


Student councils provide students with an opportunity to be actively involved in
the affairs of the school. Ultimately, this is of benefit to the entire school.

Student councillors across Jamaica identified the following advantages to having
a student council in their Schools:

          “Assists in creating a positive school environment”
          “Allows for the inclusiveness of student views for ensuring the highest
           standards of education”
          “Provides an avenue for student participation”

         “Useful in acting as mediators when issues arise between students and
          the school administration”
         “Provides an avenue for the development of the leadership potential of
         “Affords students the opportunity to receive training in a number of
          areas e.g. advocacy, public speaking, conflict resolution, which will
          ultimately benefit the school community”
         “Provides an opportunity to unite the student body”
         “Provides an opportunity to strengthen the basic elements of
          democracy among young people”
         “Advocate for the creation of a learning environment that is
          supportive of students.”
         “Ensure that all students are treated equally and consistent with the
          provisions of the Education Act (1980).”
         “Present the views of students who feel they have been unfairly
          treated to the school and act as mediators between the parties.”
         “Keep students informed of happenings at the institution and ensure
          their views are considered before decisions on major issues are taken.”


Listening to students
A student council must listen to the views, opinions and ideas of all students in
the school.

Representing students’ views
A student council must represent students’ views and is a forum for students’
concerns to be addressed. It should bring the views and concerns of students
forward to the school administration and teachers in a diplomatic way.

A consultative body
A student council has a consultative role. Students should be consulted prior to
implementation of new school policies, e.g. uniform, violence prevention, sports
and activities.

Providers of information
A student council should provide the school administration with information. It
can alert the school administration to student concerns of which they might not
be aware and also provide the school administration with ideas and solutions to
problems that students have, e.g. peer pressure, drug use, etc.

Peer support
A student council should act as a peer support group. It can provide support on
a confidential basis for students with problems, e.g. personal, social or
teacher/student relationships.

An educational opportunity
A student council can be a learning tool. Students can learn to think critically
through involvement with the student council.

Improving school atmosphere
A student council can create a positive school atmosphere by providing students
with a sense of ownership of their school.

Improving school facilities
A student council can have a role in improving school facilities, e.g. benches or
seating areas for break-times, sports facilities, better school equipment (e.g. AV

equipment, tape recorders), school décor (e.g. brighter walls, , making the school
accessible for students with disabilities).

Improving the learning environment
A students’ council can help to improve the learning environment by achieving a
good school environment suitable for all staff and pupils to work to their
maximum ability.

Raising students’ awareness of ‘bigger’ issues
A student council can raise students’ awareness of social issues, such as poverty,
the environment, health and peer pressure.

There can be no effective functioning of the student council without the support,
acceptance and involvement of the students, teachers and the Government. To be
effective the student council must have the full and active support of students,
must hold regular meetings and perform some useful functions, or enthusiasm
will die and it will be a council in name only. Moreover, the council must foster
and encourage responsible, disciplined councillors.

A council must be effective in these five fundamental areas:
   Discipline in the council itself
   Financing
   Relations between the council and administration
   School development projects
   The structure of meetings.

If your council is not effective, it may well be that it is lacking in one or more of
these areas. Check to see which it is, and correct it immediately.


A student councillor is an individual who has been democratically elected by
students to represent and advocate for the acknowledgement and respect of their
rights. However, while doing so, must enforce discipline and good conduct at all

Roles and Responsibilities of the Student Councillor
        The student councillor is responsible for representing matters of the
         membership of his/her class to the Students Council, School boards and
        The student councillor must communicate all instructions and decisions
         made within the Council to its members
        The student councillor advocates on behalf of the members of his/her
        The student councillor sensitises his/her fellow students of their rights
         and responsibilities
        The student council can mediate in student matters prior to disciplinary
         actions by the school administration
        The student councillor must elevate the morals and values of the student
         population through development programmes

Code of Conduct for the Student Councillor
        The student councillor must abide by the rules of the Council, the school
         and the state
        The student councillor must exhibit exemplary behaviour in terms of
         mannerism and interaction both on and off the school campus
        The student councillor must not abuse the privileges of office and must
         always maintain integrity.

An effective councillor:
      Must be an effective advocate
      Must be able to network by way of initiating and maintaining contact with
       individuals and organisations that share or support the goals of the
      Should report issues discussed during meetings to classmates, and should
       report concerns of their fellow students to the council and school
      Attends meetings regularly
      Must be a good listener
      Must b trustworthy and maintain confidentiality when the need arises
      Allocates sufficient time to listen to student concerns
      Should have appropriate conflict handling and negotiation skills
      Should coach fellow classmate, encouraging and guiding them towards
       achieving superior results
      Is an exemplary figure at all levels of the NSSC and by extension the
       wider society

Councillors must be reminded that the compromising of their principles to suit a
section of students only serve to defeat their cause. While they must primarily
seek to uphold the rights of the students in as broad a way as possible,
councillors must remember that when students voluntarily abuse their rights, the
council is left with little to uphold. Therefore the council’s interest is justice, not
to blindly represent students.



Establishing a students’ council

In establishing a students’ council, certain procedures must be carried out to
ensure democracy and transparency at all levels. The involvement of the
administration is very essential in establishing a students’ council, as the
administration should provide the support needed in getting the council started.
This support might be in the form of supervision based on the education
regulations or the provision of the necessary resources that may be necessary for
getting the council started.

The following steps should be observed when establishing a students’ council:

   1. There must be knowledge of the students’ council and their role within
        the student body.
   2.   Students should elect class representatives (two representatives are
        usually recommended for each class)
   3. All the class representatives must thereafter join together to form the
        students’ council body within that particular school
   4. After the council has had at least two meetings, nominations/elections
        should be held for the council’s president and executive.

Each class must elect two (2) student council representatives. These students
must be elected within the first two (2) weeks of the academic year. Before the
class elections are hosted, it is useful for the school administration, through the

staff advisor, to host a sensitisation seminar as part of a General Assembly, to
inform the school population of the role and function of a student council, in
order for them to make informed decisions.

For class elections, any student in that class may nominate another student.
Students should be nominated based on their ability to:
       Represent the vies and concerns of the class and NOT HIS/HER own
       Realise that attendance at meetings is very important and that aside from
        illness   or   other     serious    considerations,     ATTENDANCE     IS
       REPORT to the class after each council meeting
       Participate actively in the plans and activities of the council
       Have a good understanding of the AIMS and OBJECT?IVS of the
        students council.

The nominated candidates should then be asked to make brief presentations to
the class, telling their peers why they should vote for them.
Students may then vote for the candidate of their choice. The key thing to
remember is that each student has only one (1) vote.

Votes should then be tallied and the representatives announced.

All class representatives together comprise the School’s Students’ Council. Once
all class representatives have been chosen, an executive body must be chosen for
the council.

The election for an executive body can be done in two ways:

       1. It can be an open nomination where the nominations are open to all
           students, including the council members. The nominated candidates
           must then campaign to get support from the student body. An election
           date should be set and the student body should be allowed to vote
           with supervision provided by the school/staff advisor.
       2. Nominations may be reserved for council members only. This is called
           a closed nomination as those who are not student councillors are not
           allowed to be nominated. They also vote for the president/executive.

The following rules should apply in any election:
             The student council is equally representative of all students in the
             Only students can be elected to the student council.
             Only students can vote in the election.
             Every student in the school has one vote.
             The election procedure is agreed in advance.
             All students are aware of how and where voting will take place.
             Class time should be allocated for election, where possible.
             Voting is by secret ballot.
             Counting of votes is carried out by students under the supervision
              of a teacher.

The first meeting of the council will include the following:

   1. Election of a temporary chairman to direct the meeting.
   2. Election of a temporary secretary to record the minutes
   3. Decision on the aims and objectives of the council.
   4. Election of a steering committee to develop the ground rules for the
       council and to guide the council until officers are elected.


Members of the student council should be given good notice of any meetings.
Meetings should be held every week at a time and place fixed by the council. It is
advised that meetings be held regularly at the same place. The school board
should provide a suitable place to host these meetings. If possible, the members
should be given a copy of the agenda in advance of a meeting, so that they can
prepare. It is important that members participate in meetings and give their
opinions. However, members should also listen carefully to what others have to
say and respect their opinions.

Student Councillors are expected to attend all meetings.

Meetings serve to:
      Develop
      Persuade
      Initiate change
      Facilitate effective decision the school administration
      Enable a democratic process
      Ensure free flow of information
      Enables consultation
      Cascade ideas

Please note:
      All local councils should meet at least once per week.
      The council is expected to meet once per month with the principal.
      The meeting agenda for the local council is essentially the same save and
       except a few exceptions.

The Agenda
The agenda is a list of the items to be discussed at a meeting. It should be drawn
up in advance of the meeting by the Secretary and the President, in consultation
with the other officers of the student council. Students in the school should be
given the opportunity to put items on the agenda through their representative on
the council.

The Minutes
The minutes are a record of what was discussed at a meeting. They should
clearly record the decisions made, the follow-up action and who will carry out
the action. The Secretary records the minutes of the meeting. Minutes of the
previous meeting should be circulated to all members as soon as possible after
the meeting.

Agreement at Meetings
Decisions at all meetings should be by consensus. All members of the student
council, irrespective of their position, should have the same vote and status. In
the event of a tie, the President has the casting vote. If this system is used, a
minimum number of council members should be present (a quorum). On
important issues, it may be useful to delay the vote until the following meeting,
giving representatives time to consult with their class/year and obtain their

Councillors are advised to observe certain meeting courtesies. These include:
        Integrity not obduracy
        Courtesy
        Interrupting someone by talking over them.
        Exchanging leers or other gestures with other members as a means of
         criticizing the speaker.

        Showing annoyance and or boredom.
        Engaging in conversation while someone else is talking.
        Losing your temper.
        Belittling others while speaking.
        Failing to show the chairman respect.
Good manners displayed by attentiveness, politeness, consideration of other
point of views and respect for the rules of the procedure are the hallmarks of the
effective participant.

Note: there are several issues that must not be discussed in a meeting as such
issues are based on personal prejudices and biases. Such include: politics,
religion, sexuality, race, and gender, inter alia. However, in instances where
controversial issues arise individuals must employ certain handling styles as,
“agree to disagree,” “avoiding the issue,” “compromise” or simple change the

                               SECTION FOUR


Role of President
         The chief spokesperson and officer of the student council;
         Chairs and maintains order in all meetings of the council;
         Should represent students on the School Board
         Is responsible for the efficient running of the council and the
         Represents matters of the membership at the Regional and National
         Communicates the instructions and the decisions made at the Regional
          and National levels, School Boards and Committees to the membership
         Signs any letters, notices, etc. that are issued by the student council;
         Prepares the agenda for each meeting with the Secretary;
         Signs the minutes from the previous meeting with the Secretary when
          they are accepted by the student council.

Tips for President

   1. Be prepared for each meeting. It may be useful to meet with the Secretary
       to agree an agenda in advance of a meeting.
   2. Start and finish each meeting on time.
   3. At the beginning of any meeting, allow group members to put items on
       the agenda under ‘Any other business’. Then keep to the agenda items for
   4. At the beginning of the meeting, ask the student council to agree the
       minutes of the previous meeting. Any changes should be agreed by the

       council and noted on the minutes. The President should sign the approved
   5. Present each item for discussion, ensuring that everyone who wishes to do
       so gets an opportunity to speak and that each person is listened to. This
       will include:
           giving everyone a chance to speak if they want to;
           asking people for ideas — remember, the President does not have
              to have all the answers;
           if you know that someone has the answer to any question, ask them
              to speak;
           encourage the quieter people to have their say;
           ask members to propose practical solutions to problems.
   6. Give direction to meetings, making sure that there is enough time to deal
       with each item on the agenda.
   7. Try to keep the meeting focused on the agenda.
   8. Call the meeting to order if necessary (e.g. if more than one person speaks
       at the same time or if an argument breaks out).
   9. Help the process of decision-making by asking people to clarify what they
       are saying if it is not easily understood, by summing up what someone
       has said when they are finished and by stating clearly the decision that is
       being taken before it is noted in the minutes.
   10. In some instances, it may be necessary to hold a vote (e.g. by a show of
       hands) on a particular issue.
   11. At the end of each meeting, make sure to arrange a date / time / venue /
       possible agenda items for the next meeting.

Role of Vice President
      In the absence of the President, the vice-president shall assume all duties
       and responsibilities of the office

      The vice-president shall assist the president in the efficient running of the
      Should initiate special projects such as outreach programmes and school
       development projects

Role of Secretary
         The secretary shall manage and maintain accurate records, including
          but not limited to minutes, attendance, and contact information for the
          membership of the council.
         Is responsible for recording suggestions and resolutions that are made
          by the membership at council meetings
         Is responsible for all the correspondence and circulation of documents
          to the council
         Prepares the agenda for each meeting with the President and in
          consultation with the other officers of the council;
         Circulates the agenda to all members in advance of the meeting or at
          the start of the meeting;
         Ensures that everyone is aware that meetings are being held.

Tips for Secretary
 1.     Bring any correspondence received to the attention of the President
        before the agenda is drawn up, e.g. perhaps some element of
        correspondence needs inclusion on the agenda for discussion/response.
 2.     If necessary, read the minutes of the previous meeting at the beginning
        of each meeting and make any necessary corrections before the minutes
        are signed by the President.
 3.     Record as accurately and as fairly as possible the minutes of each

 4.     Remember to record the following at each meeting:
            time, date and venue of each meeting;
            attendance;
            excuses and apologies;
            any corrections to the minutes of the previous meeting;
            the item that is being discussed;
            proposals that are made and seconded;
            the names of the people who proposed and seconded them;
            any proposals that are agreed;
            the number of votes for and against;
            other decisions that were made during the meeting without a vote
             being taken;
            any action that is to be taken, together with the names of the people
             who are going to carry it out and when they will carry it out;
            the date, time and venue of the next meeting.
 5.     Remember that you also have a right to participate in discussions —
        don’t allow your role to stop you from contributing to the various
        matters on the agenda.
 6.     It’s a good idea to use the same notebook at each meeting for the taking
        of the minutes.
 7.     After you’ve written them up, check the minutes with the President
        before the next meeting.
 8.     Write up the minutes as soon as possible after each meeting.

Role of Treasurer
    Responsible for maintaining an account at a reputable commercial bank
      The Chairperson of the fundraising committee
      Responsible for preparing and presenting accurate financial statements to
       the Council

      Shall review the income and expenditure of the various committees that
       are submitted for approval

The agreement of school the school administration should be sought before a
student council bank account in opened. As a general rule, any payments made
by the Treasurer should be countersigned or endorsed by another member of the
council and the student council staff advisor

Role of Public Relations/Communications Officer

      Directly responsible for promoting the activities of the council to the
       school population and to the wider community
      Keeps students informed about the activities of the student council;
      Keeps notice boards updated;
      Helps produce the student council newsletter if the school has one;
      Promotes good communication between the student council and students,
       teachers, school the school administration and parents.


Role of student council member
      represents the views and ideas of his/her class at the student council;
      puts issues that are raised by his/her class on the agenda for student
       council meetings;
      informs their his/her class on the outcome of student council meetings;
      promotes the student council;

     Works with other members and in partnership with the school
      administration, staff and parents for the benefit of the school and its

Advice for student council member
     Have regular meetings with the class, getting their views and ideas and
      letting them know what is happening at meetings.
     Read the agenda before the meeting.
     Get information on the issues on the agenda that are relevant to you and
      your class and bring it with you to the meeting.
     Speak clearly at the meeting.
     Write out your points in advance so that you won’t forget what you want
      to say.
     Stand up for your point of view, but be prepared to listen to other
      people’s opinions too — and be prepared to compromise.
     Think before you speak and don’t interrupt other people when they are
     Be polite at all times and show respect for other people’s point of view.
     Give a signal to the President if you want to speak (e.g. raise your hand).
     Be willing to take someone else’s view on board.
     Try not to be negative and complain all the time. Try to come up with
      solutions to problems.
     Do not commit or promise to do something that cannot be done.

A staff advisor assists in the daily the school administration of the council. The
advisor is strategically positioned to offer assistance, guidance and leadership to
the students, and should seek to organise special activities and training sessions
to aid the student councillors in effectively performing their responsibilities.

Staff Advisors should…
      be elected by the council
      ensure that information received by the school is transferred to the council
      oversee the election process
      give guidance to student council activities

The staff advisor must be selected on the basis of:
          1. Objectivity
          2. Gender. The must be an advisor represented from both sexes to
              facilitate sensitivity in issues that may arise
          3. Trustworthy. The advisor must offer a level of assured secrecy to
              students that confide in them
          4. Ability to mediate when the need arise
          5. Level of commitment to student council ideals and the willingness
              of that individual to facilitate student council activities.

Role and responsibilities of the student council staff/faculty advisor
The main role of the staff/faculty advisor is:

         To promote the interests of the student council;
         To assist and advise the student council;
         To be the link between students and teachers and the school

The main responsibilities of the staff / faculty advisor include:
          Attending student council meetings and providing guidance, advice
           and information if requested.
          Providing training and team development activities for the student
          Assisting the student council in liaising with the school administration.
          Liaising between the student council and staff by putting student
           council issues on the agenda at staff meetings.
          Encouraging staff to invite members of the student council to attend
           staff meetings and encouraging the student council to invite staff
           members to its meetings.
          Helping to raise the profile of the student council.
          Helping to ensure the student council becomes part of the structure of
           the school and that it is involved in all aspects of school life.
          Monitoring and evaluating the development of the student council
           with student members.


What can Principals do to assist Student Councils? Principals are to monitor and
foster the development of the Student Council in their school, and not see
themselves removed from the scope of the Student Council. Their roles lie along
these lines:

            Entertain meetings and discussions with members of the council to
               maintain direct and closer contact with students’ affairs.

           Allow the student council to make brief presentations at staff
              meetings, in order to outline activities and aspects of the student
              council to teachers.
           Assist the student council at times in areas of printing and
              stationary as this is essentially to the effectiveness of the council
              especially at the regional level
           Finally support and publicly acknowledge projects implemented by
              the council because it is in this area that a council can best
              demonstrate its effectiveness.

Principals, be aware that the student council is not aimed at being an
antagonistic organization, primarily seeking confrontation with teachers.
Cooperation through diplomacy is merely what the council seeks in its aim to
represent the interest of the students. It is necessary to note also that the interest
of the Administration may differ from the interest of the student at times. Here,
diplomacy and mutual tolerance must guide the actions of BOTH parties.


Can a prefect assume the role as a student councillor vice versa?

This issue raises the controversial question of conflict of interest this is so as the
prefect as the one strict charge implementing disciplinary actions for students
who act out of order while, the student councillor advocates the rights of
students this does not mean however, that either of the two should not assume
role of the other. In fact it is advisable that a student councillor becomes a prefect
and a prefect a student councillor. Not only should a councillor advocate for
students rights but ensure that while doing so he is maintaining order and
discipline within the school , student Councillors should not present themselves
as adversaries but disciplinarians.

                                SECTION FIVE


Each student council will decide what activities it will carry out. It is important
that the activities are in accordance with the role of the student council and that
they are agreed by the council members. It is also important that the students in
the school are in agreement with the activities and will participate.

At the first meeting of the student council, a basic plan should be drawn up on
the activities to be carried out during the year. Activities can be added or
removed from the plan during the year, but it is important that a basic plan is in

Each activity should also be carefully planned before it is carried out to ensure
that it is successful. When a particular activity has been completed, the student
council should take time to discuss and analyse it — how did it work, was it
successful, what problems there were and solutions for next time, improvements
to be made.

The student council plan should be evaluated at the end of the year to see what
was and was not achieved.

Some activities for student councils
The following is a list of some of the activities that a student council can engage
        school newsletter/magazine;
        links with other schools;

        getting involved with the community, e.g. helping the elderly, tidy
         towns, etc;
        mentoring programmes for younger students;
        student award ceremonies;
        carrying out surveys and organising petitions;
        organising social events;
        fund-raising;

School Development Projects
Students often times measure councils based on the manner in which their lives
are affected by the council’s action on a day to day basis. They appreciate having
someone who represents them when there is a problem between them and the
administration or staff. However, nothing pleases students more than knowing
that a chance to “get their hands dirty” as they work on projects that improve
their schools.

Development projects are activities designed to change some physical aspect of
the school environment. In addition to solving a problem affecting the student
body, it is an opportunity for the council to work with the entire school in the
interest of the school. It is a chance to enhance the council’s profile by providing
students with opportunities to take control of some aspect of the school’s

Project ideas can be generated by the council, students, members of staff or the
public. Whatever the source of the idea, it must be approved by the council.
Every effort should be made to get the administration to approve and support
the project. Like all other aspects of the council’s work, it will be most successful

if it is a “school” effort – not just the council. At the same time, the absence of
full participation is never reason for not doing something.

Some common development projects are: clean-up / beautification campaigns;
bathroom repairs; water cooler installation; and, tree-planting campaigns. These
are usually funded through fundraising activities such as concerts, raffles and
other student-centred events.

Each council must implement an on-going fund-raising dues system as well as
occasional larger scale fund-raising events.

Through the dues system, each student will be required to contribute a regular
sum, whether weekly or daily. Funds from this can be used to finance day-to-day
expense and minor projects of the Council. Be aware that the collection of dues
from students may be difficult. The process can be assisted through an organized
system of collection and reporting to the class as to the amount and use of dues

The student council may decide to raise funds for its own activities or for charity.
The agreement of school the school administration should be sought before
planning any fundraising activities. The Treasurer has responsibility for ensuring
that any money raised by the council is used for the purposes for which it was
collected. A financial report should be provided to the student council at each
meeting and also at the end of each school year to the student council and the
school board

Some advice on fund-raising

       The Treasurer must keep good record of how much was raised at each
        fund-raising event and how it was spent.
       Don’t hold too many fund-raising events. Prioritise a limited number of
        issues and events.
       Plan the fund-raising event, looking at any problems which may arise.
       Get ideas from other students in the school on fund-raising activities.
       Get agreement from school the school administration for the fund-
        raising activity.
       Seek help from other students, staff, the school administration, parents,
        etc. who may have experience in running the type of activity planned.
       Cheques or payments should be authorised by two signatories (two
        student council members or a student council member and a staff
       Make sure all students in the school are told about the fund-raising
        event well in advance and tell them how the student council plans to use
        the money raised.

Some examples of fund-raising activities include:
       Cake sales
       Tag drives
       Jumble sales
       Raffles
       Non-uniform day

                                  SECTION SIX
The problem of maintaining discipline affects all institutions, sad to say
indiscipline seems to be apart of the human nature. However, it is always best in
an organization, to identify the problems that exist and take steps to solve them.
This is extremely important, because indiscipline will destroy the organization if
it gets out of control.
One of the major problems that affect our organization as it relates to discipline is
that of attendance. Councilors rarely attend meetings or attend none at all.
However this may be as a result of inadequacies within the organization that
leads to frustration of the councilors and possibly a loss of interest in the council.
Some of these inadequacies are:

      Boring meetings
      Councilors not properly trained
      No action done to complain brought to the relevant authorities
      Lack o organization in the council

Student council representatives are elected by their fellow students to represent
the student body in all affairs affecting student life. As such, they are expected to
be role models to the student population, by being disciplined students. They
must do so by:

      Adhering to the dress code of the institution as stipulated by the school
      Showing respect to staff and fellow students
      Adopt the discipline of attending school regularly.

      Councilors should strive to maintain the acceptable average
      Councilors must abide by the rules of the institution
      They should strive to be exemplary.

Other common forms of indiscipline include:
      Conducts unbecoming of a councilor such as:
           1. Use of indecent language
           2. Disrespecting other students and staff
           3. Improper uniform and poor school attendance

Useful steps that can be taken to address these and other disciplinary problems
   1. Sanctions – These punishments can take three (3) forms:
              Probation – A testing period, especially for new councilors
              Suspension – Temporarily revoking a councilor’s badge and post
              Expulsion – Permanently revoking the badge and ask the class to
               select a replacement
   2. Alternative representation – This is a person that has been selected by the
       executive to fill the post of an existing councilor that is inactive or has not
       fill his post as he was required to do.

 An advocate is a person who presents a case or cause to gain support for the
 cause and to change the belief and actions of the public or the particular group
 of people that he or she targets. They accomplish this by pleading for,
 defending or recommending ideas before people. An effective advocate needs a
 combination of knowledge and skills that will equip the individual to chart an
 effective course.

How to be an effective advocate

 An effective advocate must:
 1.   Have a vision.
     He must know what he wants to accomplish and how his team will
 2.   Must keep abreast with current affarirs.
     He should regularly read news papers and trade magazines to keep up
      with the latest developments and also keep in contact with other
      advocates in the same field of interest seeking their point of view.
 3.   Be able to identify problems.
     Good advocates are proactive and not reactive. They must be able to
      predict possible problems he may encounter and plan how to overcome
 4.   Must be decisive.
     Advocates afraid of being wrong usually act conservatively and often do
      no accomplish as much as those willing to take the risk. An advocate must
      have the skills of making decisions quickly, and be willing to accept the
      risk involved in making decisions.
 Above all a good advocate must practice good values. People expect advocates
 to be role models for these values are critical for team success.

 Resolve the problem. Follow up. Ensure that whenever there are any positives seen, it is

Procedures for representation
      As student council representatives, one will be faced with matters that
      will require him/her to investigate the situation and also review matters

where an investigation is not required. In a situation where the matter at
hand does not require an investigation, the councilor should:

      Directly contact the party with whom there is a problem , and try to
       solve it diplomatically.
      If the problem persists, it should be brought to the principal’s
       attention. This can be done by the student, through the student
      If the board fails to resolve the matter it should be brought to the
       National Secondary Student Council Regional Executive.
      If the Regional Executive fails, then the matter should be brought to
       the National Executive of the NSSC.
      If it is not settled at this level, it should be brought to the attention
       of the school board through the student council executive.
If the national executive of the NSSC fails to resolve the matter, it should
be brought to the attention of the Youth Empowerment Officer or to the
attention of the National Center of Youth Development.

It must be noted however, that in the case of matters which require
investigation the counclilor should approach his president and executive
members of the council, discussing the matter at hand. At the end of the
discussion, a decision should be made if an investigation should be
carried out. If it is decided that, it is not necessary for an investigation the
councilor should report to the student(s) with the grounds of the council’s
decision towards the case. After this is done, the council should follow the
procedures as stipulated above. If it is necessary to carry out an
investigation, the president of the council should forward a report, or
notice to the principal, parties involved in the matter and members of the
disciplinary committee stating the full details of the situation that lead to

       the investigation. If after the investigation, it is justified that the matter
       exists, the council must follow the procedures listed as above.

It must be noted that if a matter is reported, that is considered strictly
confidential; the executive body has the right to decide whether or not to
distribute the information to the entire council.

In order to have good counselling skills, one has to read widely so as to enhance
his or he knowledge. Marcus Garvey once stated “Intelligence rules the world
and ignorance bares the burden, therefore remove yourself as far as possible
from ignorance and seek as far as possible to be intelligent”. Good councilors out
to be good listeners who are willing to serve. They should be open minded,
viewing things from a wide perspective and showing cooperation consistently. It
is only when all these things are put together in a unified approach that one can
appreciate the total impact of critical leadership dimensions of: Vision, Mission,
Direction, Persuasion, Support and Development.

As councilors there is a need to know how to resolve an issue in the best way and
how to deal with certain situations when they arise. Therefore, this is one of the
main reasons why councilors need to know, practice and increase their
counseling skills.

As councilors there is a need to imagine or envision what is expected to see
happening in the near future, and what happens now. They should decide what
needs to be done to make their vision become a reality. They must convey the
vision of their team and those wo will be helping them. Leaders should also

identify and personify the basic beliefs or values which guides their actions as

Leaders should ensure that everyone functions well as a team, being equipped
with the necessary resources to accomplish the task and have effective systems
and methods to work productively. Leaders should encourage creativity. When
the team encounters problem, leaders should provide the guidance necessary to
resolve the problems quickly and effectively.

Leaders are aware of the needs and goals of team members and provide
opportunities to fulfill these needs and goals. A leader should encourage and
challenge team members to learn new skills.

It is important that there is good two-way communication between the student
council and students in the school. Students should be kept informed of the
activities of the student council. They should also be able to give their views to
the council on issues being discussed and should be able to put issues on the
agenda for discussion.

Good communication between the student council and students can be achieved
by some of the following activities:
      Having a student council suggestions box.
      Announcing upcoming events at assembly/roll call.
      Keeping a noticeboard in the school where information on student council
       activities is posted.
      Producing a student newsletter.

     Holding regular class meetings/year meetings between members of the
      student council and the students they represent in order to give feedback
      on what is happening on the council, discuss issues on the agenda and
      allow students to submit items for discussion.
     Conducting surveys of students on issues being discussed by the council.
     Holding an Annual General Meeting (AGM) to allow the student council
      to report back to all the students together on its activities for the year.
     Setting up a student council website.

COMMUNICATION               BETWEEN           COUNCIL           AND         SCHOOL

It is necessary for the Student Council to always maintain a working relationship
with the school administrations, i.e., Principals and teachers. It is argued that
teachers and Principals are unreasonable and difficult to deal with. However, the
leaders of the councils must point out to them that their cooperation is necessary
and their assistance essential, in order to maintain student-teacher relationship in
the school. This can be achieved through

1.    Weekly meetings with the Principal, along with Staff Advisor to inform
      him or her of the Student Council’s plan of activities for that week and
      seek the necessary permission.
2.    Arranging with the principal for permission to be included on the agenda
      to make a presentation to teachers at staff meetings.

3.    Providing regular updates to the school board, Principal, staff and
      parents’ association on the student council’s activities and plans.
4.    Receiving regular updates from the school board, Principal, staff and
      parents’ association on their activities.
5.    Providing an end of year report to the school board.

6.    Receiving the minutes of the school board meetings.
7.    A student representative on the school board.
8.    Consultation by school the school administration and staff on issues
      affecting the operation of the school.
9.    Placing student issues on the agenda for school board meetings.
10.   Attendance of representatives from the student council at school board

Councillors, especially the leaders of a council, must learn to bargain with
teachers and principals, and be able to converse freely and without fear. If you
do not cultivate this skill, the development and effectiveness of your council will
be hampered. Moreover, you will be seen by the students as an instrument of the
administration and not genuinely representing the interest of the students.

There must be good two-way communication between the student council and
school the school administration, staff and parents. A staff advisor elected by the
student council is a good way to assist in such communication. It is important
that boards of the school administration listen to the concerns of student councils
and also respond in a meaningful way to these concerns.

It is likely that most student council members, and in particular the President,
will have to use negotiating skills at some stage during their term of office. The
President may need to negotiate a decision made by the student council with the
school administration.

Student council members may have to negotiate on issues with the group they
represent. Student council meetings may involve negotiation between different
viewpoints to reach a compromise. The key to any negotiation is to be prepared.

Negotiation action plan
Before entering a negotiation, be very familiar with the issue and answer the
following questions:
       Do I have all the information I need on this issue, including information
        to back up my argument?
       Do I know what I really want to achieve in this negotiation?
       What is the ideal outcome?
       What am I willing to compromise on?
       What is the least I am prepared to accept?
       What are my options?
       What are my strengths?
       What is the pressure on the other side?
       What are their options?
       What are the deadlines in the negotiation?
       Where do I start with my presentation of the issue?
       Where should we hold the negotiation?
       How many negotiators should we have?
       How can I help the other side to feel satisfied?
       How can I create a good and trusting environment?
       What do we agree on?
       What interests do we have in common?
       What way can I try to ensure that we are both satisfied with the


There are many different methods of consultation. Some of the methods that
might be appropriate in a school are:
     Written consultation: Publicise the idea/issue and ask for written views.
     Meetings: Hold a meeting on the issue where everyone is welcome to
      attend and give their opinion.
     Focus groups: A number of small groups meet and a facilitator gets their
      views on the issue. This method could be used by each student council
      representative to get the views of the group he or she represents.
     Surveys: Set a number of questions and ask for responses.
     Information technology: Use of Internet and/or text to get views.

                                 SECTION SEVEN

Removing a member from the student council
Sometimes it may be more appropriate to remove an individual member (or
members) of the council rather than dissolve the council as a whole. A member
of the council can be removed by:
1. The student council for a continuing failure to attend meetings of the council,
or for a lack of commitment to the purposes of the council, or for stated
misconduct. This decision should be taken on a majority vote of the council and
the member should be given adequate notice of the proposal, the reasons for it
and the opportunity to present his or her case and to be accompanied by a
colleague. They should subsequently be entitled to appeal to the school board.

2. The member concerned and the council should be given adequate notice of the
proposal, the reasons for it and the opportunity to appeal the removal to the
school board in accordance with established local appeals procedures within the

Filling a vacancy

Vacancies should be filled in accordance with the procedures governing

Disciplinary procedures for Councillors:
            A councillor found in violation of the code of conduct should be given
             a warning letter.

Note: The degree of violation may require immediate dismissal of the councillor;
for example, in a case where the treasurer misappropriated money from the
          If improper conduct persists the councillor should be given a chance to
           defend himself in council.
          In the event that inappropriate behaviour continues, probation will be
           of consequence.
          For an effective case of expulsion there must be a 2/3 majority vote
           against the councillor in question.
          For executive members an objective tribunal is established to sanction
           these persons.
Note: The same applies here as mentioned above. In unjustifiable circumstances
immediate removal would affect.

      When Councillors excel at whatever level of representation, an award
       should be presented to such a councillor.
      A councillor who served well can be recognised and awarded for his
       voluntary contribution at the end of the academic year.

                               SECTION EIGHT

Individually, councils are limited to influencing their schools only. In order to
influence national issues, the councils have aligned to form the National
Secondary Students Council (NSSC). The NSSC is an umbrella organisation for
all student councils. It is structured to give students the chance to voice their
opinion at the highest level, on matters that affect them. To facilitate this, the
NSSC has a structure consisting of local and regional councils, and a National

Aims and Objectives of the NSSC
   1. To identify, advance and promote the interest of Students.
   2. To express the viewpoint of Jamaica’s Secondary School Students,
      and represent or arrange the representation of any student or
      group of students before any authority.
   3. To support students, affiliated student organizations and other
      appropriate     bodies    at   the   Local,   National,    Regional    and
      International levels.
   4. To provide students with services and information relevant to their
      secondary education.
   5. To promote the active participation of students in matters affecting
      their interests, by making representations to the powers that be.
   6. To promote student governance, youth leadership, and the
      participation of youth in the decision-making process of civil
   7. To develop in students a greater interest in civic, economic,
      commercial, industrial and cultural affairs.

          Structure of the NSSC


 REGION 1            REGION II       REGION III       REGION IV      REGION V         REGION VI

Kingston and St.    St. Thomas and    St. Mary, St.    St. James,    St. Elizabeth,   St. Catherine,
    Andrew              Portland     Ann, Trelawny      Hanover,      Manchester       Clarendon

  44 school           15 school       22 school        24school       24 school        35 school
   councils            councils        councils        councils        councils         councils

     NSSC National Executive
           President

           General Secretary

           Public Relations Officer

           Treasurer

           Regional Executives
                    Six (6)Vice Presidents
                    Six (6) Asst. Vice Presidents
                    Six (6) Secretaries/P.R.O.s

           Immediate Past President

Local Council
First there is the Local Council which is that individual Student Council existing
and operating in any particular school. Representation to Local Council is based
on democratic election of class representatives.

The Regional Council
The Regional Councils are groups of local councils in a particular geographical
area. This is based on the Ministry of Education’s classification of Schools by
The major function of the regional council is to deal with those problems which
cannot be dealt with at the local level. Additionally, at a regional level, students
can address issues which affect more than one school. The regional council
provides a larger forum of student councils in which larger and more effective
student council activities can take place.

Each School is expected to send two representatives to Regional meetings, which
are hosted monthly

Frequency of Meetings
Local Councils    Regional              National Council
At least Weekly At least Monthly        At least once per term

Regional/National Elections:

       1. Representatives from the National Centre for Youth Development shall
          deliver five application forms along with the necessary guidelines for
          nomination of candidates to each school via a medium that is
          convenient to both NCYD and the school.

       2. NCYD will then call to ensure that forms and guidelines have been
       3. After the nominees have completed the forms, they are either picked
          up by NCYD officials or faxed to the office by the stipulated deadline.
       4. The schools are further notified of the confirmation of the nominated
          candidates and the election date
       5. The elections are overseen by the Political Ombudsman and the
          Electoral Office of Jamaica and as such will follow the guidelines for
          general elections in Jamaica.

Decision Making and Problem Solving

To arrive at national decisions, two basic ways can be adopted. Firstly, proposals
come from students of any classroom at any school in Jamaica. The proposal is
taken to the Local Council by the class representative. The issue is debated,
accepted and a course of action outlined. If the issue is a local one, i.e., pertaining
only to the school involved, the matter is solved there using the school
authorities (teachers/principals/boards). In the latter instance, it is the student
representative to the board who is the student council’s spokes person. If the
problem involves other schools or cannot be solved in the local level, it may be
taken to the Regional Council by the Local Council’s regional representative. If
the matter is still not solved at the regional level, it may be taken to the National
assembly by the N/A representative for the region. At the National Assembly,
the , the National Executive acts on the problem by taking it up with the
appropriate authorities.

When the issue recommendation reaches the National Assembley, the N/A
President or the National Convener would either summon an emergency
meeting of the National assembly or await the next constitutionally due meeting

(depends on the nature of the case). Either way the National Assembly members
would discuss the matter and make a final ruling on the case. That would be a
decision of the entire organization. This decision however could be revised or
amended by the National Congress.

The second method is by using, the National Congress. A proposal may come
from any classroom, taken to the Local Council by the class representative; the
proposal is adopted by the Council by a VOTE. The proposal is taken to the
National Congress by the congress delegate. At the congress, the proposal is
read, debated and decided on. It is accepted, it too, becomes a decision of the
entire organization.

                           SECTION NINE

Student Councils provide young people with the opportunity to make group
decisions for their common benefit.


An outline of the meeting agenda must be prepared several days before the
meeting so that it can be offered to the members of the council prior to the
meeting in an attempt to highlight what needs to be accomplished.

An agenda should include at least all of the following:
         Call meeting to order
         Recommendation for prayer. There must be a consensus as to
         Welcome and apologies
         Introduction and acknowledgement of guest speaker(s) if present.
         Approval of proposed agenda.
         Minutes of the last meeting (circulation of)
         Opening remarks (at most 3 minutes)
         Make mention of pertinent topical issues (optional)
         Announcements (e.g. birthdays, anniversaries, deaths, achievements,
         Old business
         New business
         Brief evaluation
         Scheduling of next meeting
         Adjournment
         Termination.




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