Wednesday, 6 November 2019
Education (Student and Parent Charter) Bill 2019: Committee Stage
Joe McHugh (Donegal, Fine Gael)
In response to amendment No. 14, the Bill currently provides for an amendment of section 27(4) of the Education Act 1998 to change the requirement on a student council from one of promoting the interest of the school to a requirement to promote the interest of the students of the school, having regard to the characteristic spirit and policies of the school and the charter. The Senator's proposal amends this provision in the Bill and attempts to restrict a student council, in co-operation with the board, parents and teachers, from promoting the involvement of students in the affairs of the school to promoting the involvement of students in the appropriate affairs of the school.
The Bill is not altering the current legislative provision on student councils, working in co-operation with boards, parents and teachers, to promote the involvement of students in the affairs of the school. I must emphasise that this provision, which has been in place since 1998, does not in any way empower students to become involved in matters in which they have no proper role. I fully understand the concern about the amendment, such as employment matters.
In addition, a number of issues arise with the Senator's proposed amendment which would make it unworkable. In that regard, it is not clear what constitutes "appropriate affairs" of the school or indeed who would determine what constitutes those "appropriate affairs". For the reasons outlined, I cannot accept this amendment.