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International Students Day in Jamaica
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International Students Day in Jamaica

by Odayne Haughton, Commonwealth Students Association Rep for The Caribbean and the Americas

The Commonwealth Students Association commends the Jamaican Government for its active engagement and advancement of student movements in the country.

November 17, 2017, International Students Day was a historic day in Jamaica as there were two major milestones in student activism. The event was a joint executive Inauguration Ceremony between the National Secondary Student Council (N.S.S.C.) and the Jamaican Union of Territory Students.

At the event, the Ministry of Education, Youth and Information and the National Secondary Students’ Council officially launched the Secondary School’s Student Council Toolkit. This document has been in draft since 2006 and will now serve as a guide to student councillors and staff advisors in setting up and managing effective student councils across the country.

The day also witnessed for the first time in seven years an official installation of the Jamaican Union of Territory Student (J.U.T.S.). The newly-elected committee will embark on a mission over the next two years to provide support to student movements at the tertiary level, while “Building a nation through student representation”.

State Minister in the Ministry of Education and Information, Minister Floyd Green, said schools that are excelling are the schools that incorporate the student councils in the overall running of the institutions. He encouraged educational institutions to not only keep the councils going, but also allow student leaders active and meaningful participation in the decision making of day-to-day running of their institutions.

As the Caribbean and America’s representative in the Commonwealth Student’s Association, I was present at the Inauguration and had the opportunity to commend some the students for their advocacy efforts in their respective institutions. I encouraged them to keep growing and representing their peers, and at the same time I highlighted how International Students Day, November 17,  is an important annual celebration.

Students are the building blocks of any nation. They are the future generations whose knowledge marks the nation’s development. It is a global celebration day for the student’s community that celebrates the advocacy effort, the multiculturalism, mutual assistance, and diversity among students globally.

International Students Day originally commemorated the attack of Nazi German on Czech universities, in which the more than 1,200 students were sent to the concentration camps, and several were killed. The day is now a symbol of the struggle of students globally.

Photos: courtesy of Odayne Haughton

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