During August 2011, OurSay and the VicSRC gave Victorian students the opportunity to put forward questions to the Victorian Minister for Education, The Hon. Martin Dixon. The Minister answered them live at the annual VicSRC Congress Conference.
The VicSRC is a democratic network of Student Representative Councils working to represent the views of secondary students and to strengthen SRCs throughout Victoria. Find out more about VicSRC at their website.
“I believe a trend in secondary school SRC's has developed. Many councils are less about change than about appearing to make change. Students no longer seek to be involved in leading in order to listen to their peers and to make changes in schools, but simply to promote themselves and to reap the benefits of such a position, while failing to hear and address serious issues such as sexual and cultural diversity, bullying, attitudes to schooling and realistic and high-standard life goal-setting. Co-ordinating teachers need to encourage higher-order thinking about secondary school issues. Leadership students (and potentially all students) need to be educated and aware on issues concerning young adults, and learn to be effective in presenting their own viewpoints on matters, effectively relaying opinions of the students they represent, and progressive thinking of solutions. These opinions and ideas need be directed at co-ordinators who can provide sound advice on how to act and potentially solve such matters. How can you promote and encourage genuine leadership from School Representative Councils, both students and co-ordinating teachers, in issues concerning young adults, as well as educate Councils in awareness, effective student/peer support and strategies to act progressively on issues? ”
“It is often noted that the best thing a teacher can do is empower a student so that they may be in control of their own learning. With that in mind, what is the Victorian Government doing to ensure that students are given real voice within the school by encouraging and allowing them to join school councils, staff selection panels and other committees?”
“As you may know, same-sex attracted and genderqueer young people have suicide rates six times higher than other young people. The "Writing Themselves In 3" study found that 75% of SSAGQ young people experience homophobic abuse, and 80% of these incidents are experienced in schools. The Department of Education and Early Childhood Development, under the previous government, developed the Catching On-Line initiative, the Supporting Sexual Diversity in Schools policy, and funded the Safe Schools Coalition Victoria, which has continued to receive funding under this government. How do you, your Department and this government plan on improving the experiences of SSAGQ young people in secondary schools, helping students who stand out against homophobia, and supporting organisations who are assisting these brave young people in their endeavours?”