Student voice heard at highest levels

Deputy Premier and Minister for Education and Early Learning Prue Car was impressed when she met her student council for the first time.

A group of people standing in the chamber of the NSW Parliament. A group of people standing in the chamber of the NSW Parliament.
Image: The DOVES with NSW Deputy Premier and Minister for Education and Early Learning Prue Car and NSW Department of Education Secretary Murat Dizdar.

Whether it’s about mental health, sporting equality or the need to hear the voice of young people nationally, the NSW Minister’s student council is making its impact felt.

Known as the DOVES, the Department of Student Voices in Education and Schools, is a 27-person council made from students across the State.

Recently the 2023 council met Deputy Premier and Minister for Education and Early Learning, Prue Car, for the first time and updated her on its priorities.

Among the issues they highlighted was the establishment of a National Student Voice Council a national council made up of 32 cross-sectoral students across Australia.

The initial proposal for the NSVC came from the 2022 DOVES council and was presented and accepted at the Education Ministers Meeting in December 2022.

The current council is also pushing forward with a campaign to equalise cross-country distances between males and females at a state level: Currently females run 2km less than males ages 16,17 and 18.

With support from the NSW Department of Education, the DOVES has raised the issue with Athletics Australia and is continuing to push on the issue.

The DOVES has also been working on creating a mental health awareness campaign to promote the accessibility of medical and mental health assistance that is confidential at any age.

To push the matter forward, the DOVES has put together a proposal incorporating a mental health awareness campaign, the need for additional counsellors in schools, and requesting more schools make psychology available as an elective to encourage students to study psychology at university.

The group also met with Professor Kang from the University of Sydney seeking her advice on the mental health services available to all young people and have incorporated it into the proposal.

After the meeting at Parliament House, Ms Car said she was impressed by the research and work the council had done on its proposals.

She said she would throw her support behind the push to have boys and girls run the same distance in competitive cross country.

“We are going to work together as a team to push this forward,” Ms Car said.

“As the ongoing success of our Matildas shines a spotlight on women’s sport, it is important we build on this momentum and ensure that our young female athletes have the same opportunities as their male counterparts to showcase their ability,” she said.

“The DOVES council has been working for more than two years on proposing girls and boys at high school compete over the same distances in cross country and I am very happy to support their initiative.”

  • News
Return to top of page Back to top