Student Councils the world over are student-led civic organisations designed to help promote school spirit and leadership among students.
Children benefit immensely from being involved in student councils – they learn leadership skills, they have an opportunity to gain experience in public speaking, they learn organisational skills and cope with challenges beyond their everyday school life, they learn how to resolve conflict amicably and diplomatically. Most of all they learn how to make a positive impact on the school and community environment.
While most schools have Student Councils only for Secondary, at B.D. Somani we believe that Primary School is an important first step. It gives students a practical, first-hand understanding of how democracy functions by giving them a voice and a chance to contribute to the functioning of the school. A democratically elected student council allows students to practice leadership and decision making skills as well as working hard for the benefit of their school community.
Students have to think about and communicate to the electorate all the qualities that make them ideal candidates for the particular job they are interested in. The entire process right from submitting their candidature, preparing their speech, convincing the students of grade 4 and 5 to vote for them, getting elected, and performing their duties as responsible representatives of the student body implicitly helps students understand the true meaning of democracy.
The B.D. Somani Primary School Student Council consists of a President, Vice President, Secretary, Assistant Secretary, four House Captains, four Sports Captains and four Events Coordinators. StuCo’s functioning is conducted by students and supervised by the Head of Primary. Its members primarily include students from Grade 5 who are elected by students from Grades 4 and 5; Grade 4 students can stand for posts as Event Coordinators or Sports Captains.
They take responsibility for voicing the opinions and ideas of the general student body, as well as informing fellow students about current endeavours within the Student Council. From helping maintain discipline and team spirit at Sports Day to planning activities for school events like Children’s Day and Hindi Divas, all Council members take on specific roles to help out. On a daily basis, StuCo members serve duty around the school during lunch recess to ensure safety and fair and inclusive play. Faculty are involved, but their roles are more about helping out if a member of StuCo asks them.
In addition to planning events that contribute to school spirit, the student council is the voice of the student body. They help share student ideas, interests and concerns of the school community.
The Student Council meets once a month. Ms Zoe and Ms Minal participate in these sessions to supervise and guide. They discuss events and activities that have taken place in the previous month – what went right, what should be improved. They also offer recommendations for the next iteration of these events and activities.
Two years ago, StuCo instituted the Make a Change box where students leave notes about issues that concern them, or they feel strongly about so the Student Council can address them. Students share concerns big and small from inappropriate behaviour on the bus, to games that have been banned but are still being played surreptitiously, to fights between friends. Each note is read out, discussed, and a decision taken on how best to resolve the problem. StuCo members also do their part to address concerns before they escalate and result in a note in the MAC box. When they are on field or corridor duty, they intervene if they sense a student needs their help or if they see students willfully breaking the rules.
All through the StuCo meeting, the Secretaries take diligent notes. Everything on the agenda is discussed, and a consensus on each item is reached. If the decision impacts the whole school or if it results in a new Primary School rule, a StuCo representative announces it to the entire student body at Assembly.
Everyone on the Student Council stood for elections because they wanted to do something for the school and contribute to making it the best school it could be. Some wanted to bring more glory to their Houses in sports. Others wanted to flex their leadership, writing or event coordinating muscles. Each of them believes that being on the Student Council has helped them enormously, by teaching them patience, given them better organisation skills, helping resolve problems between students with diplomacy and tact.
Student Council is a terrific way for students to learn organisation, leadership and teamwork skills and prepares them for later student government positions in Secondary School.