New students join minister’s council

A new group of students from across the State has stepped up to provide the Minister with advice on education and school policy.

Image: Sharing their voice: Outgoing and Incoming members of the DOVES Council in NSW Parliament.

The unique student council known as DOVES met for the first time in 2022 last week to appoint 15 new members at their Annual General Meeting at NSW Parliament House.

DOVES (Department of Student Voices in Education and Schools) was created in 2021, with 27 representatives who have a direct line to the Minister for Education Sarah Mitchell and the Department of Education to provide advice on education and school policy.

Ms Mitchell said the Council gave students the opportunity to interact with policy and decision makers while advocating on behalf of more than 800,000 fellow public school students.

“Students are at the centre of everything we do in education, so it makes sense they have a seat at the table where decisions are being made,” Ms Mitchell said.

“The student council has provided us with advice and insights on the return to school roadmap following periods of learning from home due to COVID-19, as well as how to tackle issues like vaping and bullying in schools.”

The council is made of 27 public school students from all ages, backgrounds and from across NSW.

“As we farewell some of our terrific inaugural council members, we say welcome and congratulations to the newly elected members for 2022. It is an enormous responsibility, and I thank them for accepting the challenge,” Ms Mitchell said.

“I look forward to working with DOVES again in 2022 as we navigate the key issues affecting students in NSW.”

New member of the DOVES Sabri Sabril is a refugee from the Iraq war, and said he was thrilled to be in the council as it allowed him to share his experience and make a difference.

“I was so happy to have been given this opportunity to come to a country which accepts all people regardless of background or religion. I am proud to call Australia my new home and proud to be part of the DOVES council and honoured to support my fellow peers,” Sabri said.

Year 12 student from Nyngan High School Jack Buchanan, who was one of the outgoing DOVES members from the Rural South West, said it was an honour and a great council to be involved in.

“I could not be prouder to have played the part I did in the DOVES Council and am excited to see a system of education defined by equity, fairness, and partnership that the future councils will undoubtedly create,” Jack said.

Following their AGM, the new and outgoing council members travelled to the University of Sydney for a roundtable with Vice-Chancellor and Principal, Professor Mark Scott and Education Secretary Georgina Harrisson.

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