Mohamed Amine Belarbi ( Morocco, RCN 2010-2012)
Some learned from History only how to spell it, others strive to learn from it how to avoid what didn’t work that well in it, and implement what performed greatly during it enlightened decades and centuries.
JFK said in his last speech when referring to the Soviet establishment:
“…It is a system which has conscripted vast human and material resources into the building of a tightly knit, highly efficient machine that combines military, diplomatic, intelligence, economic, scientific and political operations.”
It is relevant to the domain of the obvious that a highly successful system such as the UWC ought to bear and enhance the political and diplomatic features necessary for a prosperous establishment. The fulfillment of such prerequisites lies mainly on the structuring of the Student Council. An ultimate shift in the nature of the student organization to a government oriented institution would not only foster the understanding and appreciation of the political constraints, but would as well shape future leaders with a true sense of responsibility and integrity, and integrity sharpened by the educational experience students would have in both interacting with a governmental body and operating from within a government set up.
One of the critics raised against such a revolutionary process in the UWC lifestyle was confined to the fact that students shouldn’t be perverted at such young age by getting in close contact with what we perceive as a grown up exclusivity and restricted arena which students could explore in the future instead of rushing it up. This would’ve been a pertaining point if the same students issuing such statements weren’t IB students who are part of a pre-university educational setting. It is ironic that we arm UWCers with an advanced educational gear up, leading them to shine and perform outstandingly in University, yet we should not prepare these same students for the political reality they are condemning every day in classes as this would be harmful to the ethical buildup of the student.
As Albert Camus once said:
“Politics, and the fate of mankind, are shaped by men without ideals and without greatness.”
If those at the reigns of governance are individuals without a sense of ideals, values and ethics, what is then the role of a UWC which leading statement calls for peace and understanding? It is indeed a shame that we all bear witness of, a shame which testifies of the failure of UWCs to propagate its teachings and philosophy among the student body beyond the humanitarian and environmental. This philosophy is inherently entrenched in the structure of the Student Council and a student Government would bring about a radical change which will bury these archaic misconceptions forever.
The UWC movement has all to win from implementing student Governments instead of student Councils on their campuses. A main feature of the richness this would bring is the upholding of the interests of the student body to unprecedented levels. A student Government, through its multiparty structure would not only enhance competitiveness among the two affiliate bodies/parties, leading to a greater quality input and an increased dynamic in acknowledging and curing the student body issues, but would as well accustom the students to the political and democratic processes which ought to be fully understood in order to prevent the decision makers to deviate its pristine nature towards corrupt and coercive processes.
It is time that the Student Council turns away from the stagnating role of communicating and mediating between the students and the administration into a more active role of campus legislation and students powerful representation, it is time that we students take our faith in our hands and decide for what is relevant to us, impose what benefits us and abolish what we see as a prominent threat towards our mental and physical well-being. It is time that we operate on an equal stance with the administration, that we give our representatives a true power of decision and policy making. It is time to shift from a recipient of administrative orders and policies to an active organ with qualified students ready to produce solutions which best fit the students’ aspirations. It is time to say NO to an administrative hierarchy meant at monitoring closely the student body, sometimes at its disadvantage. A student Government is the solution for students who truly believe in the potential of their keens in dealing with the internal affairs of the campus, and who are willing to give power to their representative in order to enable them to perform efficiently and give a lesson to the administration, to the UWC movement and to the entire world that power coupled with a genuine UWC understanding can heal the corruption and despotism the political and governmental institutions are suffering in nowadays world. Let us start the change from within, and let us hang on tightly to the vibrating words of Mahatma Gandhi: “Be the change you want to see in the world”.