A student council (also known as a student union, associated student body or student parliament) is an administrative organization of students in different educational institutes ranging from elementary schools to universities and research organizations around the world.[1][2] These councils exist in most public and private K-12 school systems in different countries.[3][4][5] Many universities, both private and public, have a student council as an apex body of all their students' organisations.[6][7] Student councils often serve to engage students in learning about democracy and leadership, as originally espoused by John Dewey in Democracy and Education (1917).

Members of a student council



The student council helps share ideas, interests, and concerns with teachers and institute administrative authorities. It also help raise funds for school-wide activities, including social events, community projects, helping people in need and school reform. Most schools participate in food drives, fundraisers and parties.[8][9] Many members learn skills that were an extension of their formal education.

Student councils operate in many forms. There are representative-based and modeled loosely after the U.S. Congress, or based on the Executive Branch of the United States, with a President, vice-president, secretary, treasurer, and reporter. In this form student representatives and officers are usually elected from and by the student body, although there may be prerequisites for candidacy or suffrage. In elementary schools, there are typically one or two student representatives per classroom and one presiding set of officers. However, many secondary schools have one set of officers per grade level.

An example of the structure of an elementary student council may include a president, a vice president, secretary, treasurer, sergeant of arms, fundraising officer, historian, boys rep, girls rep, and just members. These roles may be assigned or voted on, either within the student council or by the entire student body. They may also reflect descending grade-levels, with the president in the oldest grade, and so forth.[10] Secondary school governments often have more independence and power than younger governments. Often a student government is overseen by a sponsor, which is usually a teacher at that particular school. Most junior or middle school student councils have a constitution of some sort and usually do not have a judicial branch.[11] Compared to elementary school councils, junior high and high school councils generally have fewer people.

In some schools, a student council representative is assigned to each class. That person passes on requests, ideas and complaints from students in that class to the student council. In other schools, the elected Class Officers are automatically members of the student council.[12]

Student councils usually do not have funding authority and generally must generate their operating funds through fundraisers such as car washes and bake sales.[13] Some student councils have a budget from the school, along with responsibility for funding a variety of student activities within a school.

Regional and national structures


Student councils can have institutional power as in Spain and Germany, where they serve a political force that mediates between students and educational institutions, or they can be elected or non-elected clubs dedicated to organising fund-raisers and events.

Student councils can join larger associations, like in the United States, the National Association of Student Councils. In Canada, the Canadian Student Leadership Association coordinates the national scene,[14] and in the United Kingdom an organization called involver provides training, support and coordination for the nation's student councils[15]





In Bulgaria most of the universities have a student council, regulated by law and the regulations of each university.



In Canada, the student council is used for helping the school with special events and planning other events. Student councils in Canada also act as a body to advocate for student issues like tuitions.





Secondary high schools, lukio, and vocational schools in Finland have student councils. They incorporate all the students of the institution, but their status is marginal, locally and nationally. Legislation demands that they should be heard in all matters pertaining to the education in the institution, but this is often not done.



Student representation is very important in the German school system. Each state in the Federal Republic of Germany has its own peculiarities in the system, but they are by and large similar. Although education in Germany is a matter for the federal states, there is a Federal student Conference where all state student councils can elect delegates to participate and exchange views on nationwide problems that arise in education. Every school in Germany has a student council. In the case of major changes that affect school life, the student council must agree. According to the student council, every district or larger city has a District student council/City student council. At the municipal level, these councils deal with the school authorities and with the individual institutions, such as school offices, etc. Above this there is a state student representation in each state, where delegates from each district/city of the respective state come to exchange ideas. This body is granted extensive rights such as a budget of between €40,000 and €70,000 for material costs, but is also obliged to consult with the Ministry of Education when important decisions are made.



In Greece, student representation is considered the limestone of democracy. All public secondary schools have a student council which consists of 15 members: a president, a vice-president, a secretary and 12 equal voting members. Additionally, all classes have a separate student council which consists of 5 members: a president, a secretary, a treasurer and 2 equal voting members.

Hong Kong


In Hong Kong, some secondary schools have student councils, while some have Students' Unions. Student councils are directly elected by the student population, and are formed by the winning cabinet. A hierarchical structure is maintained, with positions like Secretaries/Coordinators for internal and external affairs, Treasurer, Vice-chairpersons and chairperson. Student councils represent the student body, organise events and provide welfare for students.



In India, student councils are rare in elementary and middle schools. They are established in many secondary and higher secondary schools[16] and are most commonly instituted in universities.[17][18][19]

Student councils in India may be elected, nominated or selected after interview (or written examination or both).[16][20] In universities, they are elected by ballot.[21][18][22]


Emblem of OSIS

The student councils in Indonesia are officially formed by the government and is called OSIS (abbreviation of Organisasi Siswa Intra Sekolah, Intraschool Organization of Students). OSIS, introduced in 1970, are legally mandated to exist in all junior high schools and senior high schools. Every year, the committee which usually consists of teachers and former student council members hold a selection process to admit students who meet qualifications to join OSIS, while the president is voted by students of the school. In some practices, the teachers can also vote depending on their own regulation.



In Iran, each November since 1997, elementary, secondary, and high school students at each school in the nation elect between 5-14 Student Council members, which act as the main medium of communication and debate between the student body and school officials. The size of the Council at each school depends largely on the class size and school policies. Student councils in Iran mainly promote interpersonal and leadership skills, constructive debates between school officials and the students, and the organization of school activities and field trips.

The student council body of the schools, cities, regions, and the national parliament are the same and include a president, a vice-president, a secretary, and some main members. There is also a "Student council of the Provinces " from among the presidents of the City Student Councils, and the presidents of these councils, who are 9th-grade or high school students, are several boys and girls who are representatives of their Provinces students in the "National Student Parliament".

Each province has between 2 and 4 girl and boy representatives and these representatives are officially and legally responsible for leading and addressing the problems of students in their Provinces and improving the education system; The members of the "Student Parliament" (also called Student Council) in Iran are elected for a period of 2 years and during this period they have at least 2 official sessions in the main parliament of the country, with the presence of the Minister of Education and can express their demands and suggestions directly with the Minister of Education. Students and officials in Iran attach great importance to choosing a smart person and a very strong leader to represent their school, city, province, and country.[citation needed]



Since 1998 in Ireland there has been sustained development of student councils in post primary schools. In 2008 the Irish Second Level Students Union was founded as the National Umbrella body to organise and coordinate the national campaign efforts of the student councils. The Union is also a member of OBESSU. Schools and staff are advised to assist the creation of a student council under section 27 of The Education Act 1998[23]



Israel's national student and youth council (Hebrew: מועצת התלמידים והנוער הארצית) is an elected body representing all youth in Israel since 1993. Representatives are elected democratically from district youth councils. (Jerusalem, Tel Aviv, Center, Haifa, Arab sector, South, North and the regional schools). The council comprises youth from the different sectors: religious, secular, Jewish, Arab, Druze and a Bedouin representative. The National Youth Council representatives mediate between Government decision makers and the Youth representatives. They participate in the various "Knesset" (the Israeli parliament) committees: Education, internal Affairs, Violence, Drugs and Science. Youth representatives participate in committees dealing with youth-related issues such as: children's rights, violence, delinquency and youngsters at risk - cut off from mainstream youth. Youth representatives also participate in discussions concerning matriculation examinations, discussing a national project on school trips, delegations Youth representatives youth, are invited by high officials, ministers and even the president and officials from foreign countries. Israel's national student and youth council is the first youth council in the world that made student rights legislation. In 2006 graduates of the Israel's national student and youth council founded an association named Bematana. The association's mission is to promote young leaders who are elected as representatives in student and youth councils in Israel. in 2012 the Israel's national student and youth council held the International Youth Leadership Conference under the slogan. "Take The Lead!"



Based on alumni associations which were existed as high-level organizations of extracurricular activities, student councils were added to Japanese schools after World War II. In Japanese schools, students in a class stay together as a cohesive set in the same homeroom for most of the day. Each class has one or more elected representatives who reports to student council. The student council consists of members who are elected by the student body. The council is often responsible for organizing events such as the culture festival, sports day, and class field trips.



In Malaysia public secondary schools student councils are usually run and managed by the school's prefects, also known as the Prefectorial Board. They act as the representatives between the students and the teachers. Some schools also have the prefects managed by a few groups of select teachers known as disciplinary teachers, or directly under the head teacher of discipline. Depending on each school's individual system, the Prefectorial Board either have open recruitment for any students interested but requiring them to undergo a year's worth of training and probation, direct recruitment via recommendations made by either teachers or senior prefects (usually students who show excel in their studies and activities) or both. Some schools have the best students from each class selected to be prefects. Positions such as head prefect (the equivalent of student president), assistant head prefect, secretary and treasurers are usually elected by students. Some schools have an internal election among prefects or have the teacher select a few possible candidates for such roles before letting the students vote. These positions form the high council or high committee. Secretary and treasurers sometimes come with assistants, either appointed by the position holder, the committee or they are voted just like the other members. Some schools will have additional positions such as 'Head of Discipline' or 'Head of Statistics' who themselves have a committee of their own to manage different aspects of the school.

Those not part of the high committee are then given roles and positions based on their merit and skills to form different committees to oversee different aspects of the school such as club activities, moral enforcement, school events or even paperwork management. While a prefect's main job is to enforce discipline and be the eyes of the school, those with roles and positions have to carry out their specific duties while managing their responsibilities as prefects. These committees are headed by the high committee members who also have to manage the students and the school. Sometimes, class monitors (who also act as class reps) take part in discussions and meetings held by prefects to better engage with the students. They may also be included as part of the committees but as normal students. Each classroom also has their own committee consisting of roles such as class monitor, assistant monitor, treasurer and secretary to manage things in their own classes.

While prefects enforce the school rules and assist the teachers, they also act as the voice of students when it comes to issues concerning the well-being of students. They essentially have full influence and control over school policies. However, as school laws are created by the Malaysian Ministry of Education, the prefects have no power in amending laws.

Prefects in Malaysian schools can be identified by their distinctive blue uniform that make them stand out from normal students. Primary schools also have a prefectorial board by on a much smaller scale.



All schools in Norway are required by law to have a student council elected by the students. The aim of student council is usually to improve their school through encouraging social, cultural and other extracurricular events in the local community. The student councils in Norway are governed by a Board of Directors which is either elected directly or by the student council.



In Pakistan, Student Councils are being introduced in many Private and Public Schools. Student council are playing an important role in Pakistani schools.

A Student council in Pakistan may be elected, nominated or selected after interview or written examination or both, but can also be based on academic behaviour or discipline. Sometimes council members are elected based on general elections and if the teacher voted on a good student based on records and grades.



Student governments of different schools throughout the Philippines are often directly elected by student body members of the class or organization which they supposedly govern with all positions (President, Vice President, Secretary, etc.) being separately elected, resulting in a wide variety of mixing and matching between different student political parties. Student governments in the Philippines are always called as the "Supreme Secondary Learner Government", or "SSLG" in short for all public educational institutions catering to Grades 7 to 12; while, elementary-based student governments catering to Grades 1 to 6 are called "Supreme Elementary Learner Government" or "SELG". Meanwhile, private schools whether nonsectarian or sectarian institutions also have their respective student council; however, they vary from form-to-form from their name to the function of the student government itself. The SSLG is called formerly called as the "Supreme Student Government" or "SSG" until the issuance of OUOPS No. 2023-03 from the education department which revised some of the student council laws and policies, in addition to the adaptation of the current name known today - the SSLG.

Aside from the school-based SSLG's, which is always present in all public schools under the Department of Education (Philippines); there is also a division-level Federation of SSLG's (a division is typically composed of a component or an independent city or an entire province), a regional federation of SSLG's (composed of all division-level SSLG's that are in a particular region of the Philippines); and a national federation - called as the "NFSSLG" or the "National Federation of Supreme Secondary Learner Governments" (composed of all regional federation SSLG's except the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region of Muslim Mindanao). Those who enter as an officer of a higher SSLG Federation level are typically Presidents who won in an election against their colleagues from a smaller subdivision (e.g. School-based Presidents of a Division compete each other to enter the Division-Federation and so forth...). SSLG Federations also have their counterpart, the SELG Federations - only for elementary student governments which follows the same process as the aforementioned.



In Singapore many secondary schools have a student council, which provides a medium for communication between the students and the school administration, a form of student welfare, and an important event-organising body. Some secondary schools name their student council like "Student Leader Board" or "Student Leader Committee", etc. They are usually nominated by peers and subsequently elected based on the decision of the teachers overseeing the student leader body. In Junior Colleges, student councils serve a greater purpose than their younger counterparts. They are given more autonomy in their planning and execution of school events.



Most Spanish universities have student councils which are regulated by law. Some of the basic points are the 24% of student representation in the board. Each university council is elected by universal suffrage of the students.

These are organised by regional students councils such as CEUCAT in Catalonia. There is a national students council called CEUNE, which is the interlocutor between the Universities Ministry and the university students.

United Kingdom


Student Councils (sometimes Student Voice, School Council, Student Parliament, and Student Union) at secondary school level are usually bodies nominated by teachers in state schools (and public and private schools without a house system). There are some regional networks between the representative bodies.

Furthermore, in England, some Student Councils maintain quite a hierarchical structure: the Representatives at the bottom, followed by the Secretary, Treasurer, Vice-chairman and chairman. This latter position is arguably the most important as it is down to this one person to run and organise the council, ensure relevant topics are discussed and—when necessary—remove members.

In Wales, the School Councils (Wales) Regulations 2005 made the establishment of School Councils a statutory requirement on all maintained primary and secondary schools in the country. The regulations also require that Councils meet regularly, that members of the School Council are elected by fellow pupils by means of a secret ballot, and that the School Council can nominate up to two of their number to serve as associate members on the school's Board of Governors.[24]

In universities, the student council is the apex body of the students and members are elected in systematic votings. In many universities, it also functions as an umbrella parliament for students' unions from different institutes.[25][26][27]

United States


Associated student body organizations in the United States function often similarly to others. In most educational systems the council is considered to be an elective/club of individuals working for unity upon their campuses. The club fundraises, supports students, and hosts events such as dances.


See also



  1. ^ Bloomdahl, Susana Contreras; Navan, Joy (2013). "Student Leadership in a Residential College: From Dysfunction to Effective Collaboration". Journal of College Student Development. 54 (1): 110–114. doi:10.1353/csd.2013.0005. S2CID 144916726.
  2. ^ Olguín-Orellana, Gabriel J.; Papadimitriou, Sofia; Langtry Yáñez, Alberto; Eranti, Pradeep; Flores-Vallejo, Rosario Del Carmen; Castillo-Orozco, Ana I.; Mayoral-Peña, Kalaumari; Parra, R. Gonzalo (2021). "6th European Student Council Symposium (ESCS): overcoming obstacles to enhance virtuality, connectivity, inclusivity and community engagement". F1000Research. 10: ISCB Comm J–41. doi:10.12688/f1000research.40666.1. PMC 7836082. PMID 33537121.
  3. ^ Goodrich, Andrew (2018). "Peer Mentoring and Peer Tutoring Among K–12 Students: A Literature Review". Update: Applications of Research in Music Education. 36 (2): 13–21. doi:10.1177/8755123317708765. S2CID 151672864.
  4. ^ Wekesa, Ferdinand Chemwende; Mbogo, Rosemary Wahu (2021). "Effect of Leadership Roles on Academic Performance: A Reflection on Student Council Officials in Public Secondary Schools in Kenya". Edition Consortium Journal of Educational Management and Leadership. 2 (1): 121–128. doi:10.51317/ecjeml.v2i1.247. S2CID 248731743.
  5. ^ Perry-Hazan, Lotem (2021). "Students' Perceptions of Their Rights in School: A Systematic Review of the International Literature". Review of Educational Research. 91 (6): 919–957. doi:10.3102/00346543211031642. S2CID 237733488.
  6. ^ Cuypers, Wim L.; Dönertaş, Handan Melike; Grewal, Jasleen K.; Fatima, Nazeefa; Donnelly, Chase; Mer, Arvind Singh; Krieger, Spencer; Cuypers, Bart; Rahman, Farzana (2021). "Highlights from the 16th International Society for Computational Biology Student Council Symposium 2020". F1000Research. 10: ISCB Comm J–443. doi:10.12688/f1000research.53408.1. PMC 8182693. PMID 34136128.
  7. ^ O’Sullivan, Kathy (2017), Leal Filho, Walter; Brandli, Luciana; Castro, Paula; Newman, Julie (eds.), "Student Leadership in Sustainable Development in a Private University in the UAE—A Case Study", Handbook of Theory and Practice of Sustainable Development in Higher Education, World Sustainability Series, Cham: Springer International Publishing, pp. 201–216, doi:10.1007/978-3-319-47868-5_13, ISBN 978-3-319-47867-8, retrieved 2021-11-08
  8. ^ "Student Council" Archived 2007-12-11 at the Wayback Machine, Mills Lawn School. Retrieved 11/29/07.
  9. ^ Fletcher, A. (2005) Meaningful Student Involvement. SoundOut. Retrieved 11/29/07.
  10. ^ "A Journey Through the Student Council School Year œ Elementary Focus" Archived 2007-12-01 at the Wayback Machine, Montgomery County Public Schools. Retrieved 11/29/07.
  11. ^ English, U. (1972) "Organizing a Middle School or Junior High School Student Council." National Association of Middle School Principals. ED103795. Retrieved 11/29/07.
  12. ^ "Student Government Association Officers' Petition"[permanent dead link] FAIRFAX COUNTY PUBLIC SCHOOLS website
  13. ^ "Fundraising ideas" Archived 2008-03-12 at the Wayback Machine, Michigan Association of Secondary School Principals. Retrieved 11/29/07.
  14. ^ CSLA. Retrieved 11/29/07.
  15. ^ involver. Retrieved 11/29/07.
  16. ^ a b "New student council takes up the mantle". Telangana Today. 2021-05-06. Retrieved 2021-11-08.
  17. ^ "PU: No clarity on this year's student elections yet". Hindustan Times. 2021-09-12. Retrieved 2021-11-08.
  18. ^ a b Mani, Rajiv (2019-05-18). "Student council to replace student union elections at Allahabad University". The Times of India. Retrieved 2021-11-08.
  19. ^ Staff Reporter (2021-10-26). "MG University clash: Oppn. stages walkout". The Hindu. ISSN 0971-751X. Retrieved 2021-11-08.
  20. ^ "In a first, students' council elected virtually". Telangana Today. 2021-04-29. Retrieved 2021-11-08.
  21. ^ "Panjab University students demand elections, authorities silent". The Times of India. 2021-07-09. Retrieved 2021-11-08.
  22. ^ "DUSU elections unlikely this year due to COVID-19, office-bearers to get extended term". The New Indian Express. Retrieved 2021-11-08.
  23. ^ "The Education Act 1998" (PDF).
  24. ^ "The School Councils (Wales) Regulations 2005". www.legislation.gov.uk. Retrieved 13 December 2017.
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