The first step: school student councils
School student participation – What is it?
- School student participation is any form of participation and event organizing by students, most often at school. It is implemented through student structures, and in Bulgaria, they are formally divided into 4 groups.
- The forms of school student participation in Bulgaria are at several levels: Class- (A, B, C and etc.), Class – (5th, 6th, 7th and etc.), School and National – The Children’s Council (an advisory body to the President of the SACP)
Why does it make sense to participate in student councils and structures?
- It is very simple, with the freedom to organize and focus independently on problems from their surrounding in school lives, students develop their social skills, teamwork, leadership skills, and most importantly – personal responsibility.
- It gives them the opportunity to be recognized as an active and driving part of the educational process and system. This leads to an awareness of the principles and rules in their small society and keeps them awake to the changes that directly affect them. As a major stakeholder in the decision-making processes, this makes them objective and encourages them to make their environment better, not worse.
- Student participation stimulates students’ self-initiative. It makes them flexible and ready for life after school – they know the mechanisms for participation. This is what allows them to be “decision-makers” in a certain school community.
What opportunities and responsibilities does participation in a student council provide?
- By law, the representatives in the student council have the right to an advisory vote in the work of the public council of the schools. – Chapter 14 “Public Councils”, Art. 267
- They can participate in the discussion in resolving issues affecting school life and the school community, including the school curriculum. – Section 1, Article 171, subparagraph 11
- Makes proposals to the principal and the pedagogical council regarding the ways of using the rights of the students;
- Motivates students to actively participate in the decision-making process concerning school life and the student community;
- Participates in the development of school rules;
- Mediates in solving problems related to the timetable and course of the learning process or extracurricular activities;
- Supports the activities/events of all 3 levels of school structures;
- Works on projects with other students, teachers, school educational authority, and parents
Are there any regulations for student councils?
The short answer: Yes, there is!
- You can find the legal framework in the Law on Preschool and School Education and Regulation № 13, dated 21.09.2016 on civic, health, environmental and intercultural education.
Why is it a first step?
- When a student is actively involved in his school and wants to follow the example of his active and motivated friends, to develop his knowledge as a citizen and participant in voluntary non-formal and informal education – this is the first step towards self-driven decision to take responsibility, this is the first a step towards building him/her as a committed representative of society and an engine of change.