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First-Ever Student Congress To Promote Youth Leadership

by NationTalk on April 2, 2007545 Views

NEWS RELEASE
For Immediate Release
2007EDU0051-000366
April 2, 2007

Office of the Premier
Ministry of Education

VANCOUVER – Premier Gordon Campbell and Education Minister Shirley Bond will join 120 students from public, independent and First Nations band schools around British Columbia today for the first-ever student congress.

“Today’s youth will play a pivotal role in leading our province into the future,” said Campbell. “This student congress is an opportunity for young people from around B.C. to come together to discuss how they can shape this province so it continues to be the best place on earth.”

The students were randomly selected from almost 400 applicants based on geographic region and whether they attend a public, independent or band-operated school to join the premier and education minister to have meaningful discussions about student leadership in the areas of the environment, community, and Aboriginal education. The students and the education minister will work together throughout the day to create a Student Leadership Action Plan, which will outline the next steps that government or students can take in schools and communities to help improve student achievement.“During my visits to hundreds of classrooms around the province I have always been very impressed by the leadership, creativity and innovation demonstrated by our students,” said Bond. “I am looking forward to hearing thoughtful dialogue and new ideas from the students.”

Students will also participate in a mini Conversation on Health as well as facilitated dialogue sessions about B.C.’s school system and how to turn their ideas into action. Keynote speaker Michael Furdyk, co-founder and director of Technology for TakingITGlobal.org, will talk with the students about how they can make their own mark in their schools, communities and globally.

“Not enough students take advantage of the endless opportunities given to us to develop and to make the change we want to see. Imagine what our society would be like if all students pushed their limits, stepped out of their comfort zone, and made the effort to make a positive impact in their community,” said congress co-panellist Ling Tam. “Student leadership opportunities have provided me with the tools of a lifetime, while allowing me to contribute to my school and the community.”

The student congress is both a follow-up and an expansion to the minister’s conversation with students held last year. Most of the participants at the conversation were members of Student Voice, the provincial student leadership organization members. This congress will be the third for Campbell and Bond, who also participated in teacher and parent congresses in late 2006. Highlights from the congress will be available on the Student Congress website at www.bced.gov.bc.ca/asc/.

The government is working to make B.C. the best-educated, most literate jurisdiction on the continent. Since 2000-01, the Province has increased funding to B.C. public schools by over $1 billion: $667 million in operating grants and $407 million in one-time grants. During the same period, enrolment has declined by a projected 50,000 students. A cornerstone of the Province’s Pacific Leadership Agenda is to improve student achievement through increased choice and accountability in education.

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Media contact:

Lara Perzoff
Public Affairs Bureau
Ministry of Education
250 356-5963
250 920-9040 (Cell)

Mike Morton
Press Secretary
Office of the Premier
250 213-8218

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