WINNIPEG - The province says it's formed a student advisory council to help shape its "Putting Students First" strategy for improving learning outcomes.
Education Minister Cliff Cullen says a team of students aged 14 to 18 will provide insights and advice on the issues that are impacting them, as well as current and emerging topics that they may observe other students in Kindergarten through Grade 12 are facing.
The Manitoba government says the 29 council members represent diverse interests, identities, backgrounds, and perspectives. Included are students from Francophone and Indigenous communities, visible-minority students, and others.
Student Lily Rich is focused on helping the council find accessibility solutions within schools across Manitoba. “I was the only student with a physical disability in any classroom, so I had to build my educational experience from the ground up," the Grade 11 student from Balmoral Hall School in Winnipeg says. "I want to make sure all students have the resources they need to succeed.” Council member Namirembe Afatsawo, a Grade 10 student from The Pas, says all K-12 students in Manitoba need to have a voice in their education. “I look forward to bringing a perspective as a student living in the north,” Namirembe says.
Cullen says members will begin their 12-month term in August 2021. Committee meetings will be attended by the education minister and other government staff, as well as several education stakeholders.
The province says approximately 200 students applied to join the council. The applicants brought up a number of concerns, including diversity, inclusion, mental wellness, regional equality, and reconciliation.