Strong voice for students

Qais Sadat chatting to Minister for Education, James Merlino at the VicSRC congress meeting. 142040 Contributed

By GEORGIA WESTGARTH

DETERMINED and wise beyond his years Minaret College school captain Qais Sadat took his vision for a better VCE experience to the 10th Annual Victorian Student Representative Council (VicSRC) congress for the second time.
After moving to Australia from New Zealand, Qais started at Minaret College in Year 10 and has since established himself as a leader with a passionate voice for student well-being.
Not only a member of the VicSRC, Qais was the master of ceremonies at this year’s congress meeting and has had an executive role within the VicSRC for two terms.
“When I first went to congress I was very passionate about student voice and what congress stood for – I just felt like I needed to take up the opportunity to represent not only myself but the students of Victoria,” Qais said.
The three-day student-led congress engages students in democratic processes and allows them to vote for their executive leaders along with debating and Q&A discussions on bullying, student well-being and welfare, environmental issues and school culture.
At the congress, Qais decided to discuss his opinion on student disengagement during VCE.
“I’ve noticed a lack of motivation in VCE students across the board; I think they feel like school is more about grades than actually gaining an education, there is a stigma attached to certain pathways after and during VCE such as VCAL or TAFE,” Qais said.
Running as an executive of the VicSRC from 2013 to 2015 allowed Qais and the executive team of 15 boys and girls to establish a working relationship with the Victorian Curriculum and Assessment Authority (VCAA) to promote all avenues and pathways after Year 12.
“During my first term we worked with the VCAA to develop an app designed for parents, students and teachers which shows them the different pathways and opportunities available and that one isn’t necessarily better than the other,” he said.
Education Minister James Merlino opened the congress in July and said he was honoured to engage with such bright young minds.
“The students’ commitment to making a positive change in their schools and communities demonstrates the strength of the student voice in Victoria,” Mr Merlino said.
Edging toward the pointy end of his secondary education Qais said he was aiming to study medicine after Year 12 and hoped to see some changes in years to come surrounding student well-being in VCE.
“I felt there was a strong voice from the students at the congress and they want to see change in VCE and give students that courage to stand up and voice their opinion,” Qais said.

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