Student leaders representing over one hundred (100) secondary and tertiary institutions across the island will join hands with their compatriots across the globe to celebrate International Students Day at Sam Sharpe Square, St. James on November 17th. The Jamaican youth will be hosting a youth rally, through which they will be seeking to promote the active participation of young people in matters of civic and national interest.
“A march against abuse of children, women and youth rights will mark the beginning of this year’s celebrations of International Students Day, and will continue with a Youth conference,” stated Kevon Campbell, Student Governance Youth Empowerment Officer of the National Centre for Youth Development. “The conference will highlight the delivery of six research papers on critical youth issues to be presented by secondary and tertiary students.”
Jamaica join other countries across the world including in Burma (Thailand), Australia, the Philippines, South Africa, Nigeria, Ghana, Tunisia, Switzerland, Germany, Macedonia, Cyprus, Canada, the United States of America, Cuba, Palestine, St. Lucia, Brazil, Colombia, Ecuador, and Peru in commemorating International Students Day. Whilst the issues vary according to countries the message is generally the active participation of youth.
Annual celebrations of International Students’ Day on November 17 began in 1941, in commemoration of students who were killed protesting fascism on the streets of Prague, in what was then Czechoslovakia (now the Czech Republic). Since that time, the theme of the global day for students has always revolved around efforts to achieve “Peace, Equality and Freedom”, not just for students, but for the people across the world.
It’s therefore not strange that this year the focus for the celebration of International Students’ Day reflects the key challenges facing students and Jamaica.
Stated Andre Stephens, President of the National Secondary Students Council: “As we march on the streets of Montego Bay we hope to remind the youth of Jamaica of their responsibilities and the active role that we have to play in transforming this blessed land. The history of International Students Day lies in youth advocacy, and the extent to which young people have sought to influence policy and radical change within society. We will seek to impress this upon the minds of our youth, while we promote research as a critical component of youth advocacy.”