The Commonwealth Student Association (CSA) is the official voice of students in the Commonwealth. The CSA engages and empowers students in the Commonwealth to have a coordinated voice in key education decisions at different levels in the Commonwealth; it will enable them to work together to bring about change to issues that affect them most.
Although the Commonwealth Student Association is endorsed by Education Ministers of Commonwealth Member States, supported by the Commonwealth Secretariat and by various stakeholders in education, the Commonwealth Student Association operates autonomously.
From its conception to the launch of the CSA, Student leaders stressed the need for an independent voice but recognised that they should be considered as partners when bringing about change. To this affect the CSA recognise that there will be some instances where they are required to work with variety of stakeholders but will non-aligned.
The CSA was formally established in August 2012 at the 18th Conference of Commonwealth Education Ministers.
At the 17th Conference of Commonwealth Education Ministers (CCEM) held in June 2009 in Malaysia, students stressed the need for greater focus to be given to the role they can take in the decisions making processes of the Commonwealth. Given this, regional and pan Commonwealth consultations took place held with student leaders towards enhancing greater participation of students in the Commonwealth. During these consultations, youth across the Commonwealth strongly advocated that students should be meaningfully engaged in policy formulation, implementation and monitoring. In this light a student associated was proposed.
The main aims and objectives of CSA shall to:
- promote, protect and defend the rights of all students
- promote the values of the Commonwealth
- create an environment for student bodies and student movements to build their respective and collective capacities, to freely express and advocate
- promote student voice and participation in policy and decision making in Education
- promote equitable access to and opportunity to succeed in education
- promote high quality student experiences and learning environments around the ` Commonwealth
- promote equality and equity amongst students across the Commonwealth
- foster the development of students by promoting interCommonwealth state, institutional, cultural exchange programmes and extra-curricular activities; promote democracy in the education sector.
The CSA is an international confederation of student organisations and unions from Commonwealth Member Countries. Membership is voluntary, with two types of members:
- Full member organisations
- Associate Member organisations
Individuals are welcome to send a formal letter on behalf of their student organisation/association and the steering committee will respond to this request, addressed to the VC Inclusion and Engagement to email@example.com
Regional representatives on the Steering Committee were duly elected at CSA Congresses, which are regularly held during the Commonwealth Students Forum
There are 7 members of the Steering Committee including a Chair Exclusive of the 7 members there are two ex-officio members (Representing the Commonwealth Secretariat and the previous Steering Committee) who act as advisors when and where needed.
Chair: Joshua Griffith Kenya
Vice-Chairpersons: Lillian Aber- Uganda and Bangi Sayid- Uganda
Africa Representative: Catherine Kiama -Kenya
Asia Representative: Sachinda Dulanjana- Sri Lanka
Caribbean Representative: Odayne Houghton- Jamaica
Pacific Representative: Jason Sakalia Niue
The Steering Committee are serving a three year term of office.
The Commonwealth Steering committee are currently developing a comprehensive and representative database of all student bodies within the Commonwealth. The Commonwealth Student Association has also established regional working groups which seek to ensure that all the apex student bodies in member states are playing an active role in programming and decision making in the organisation.
With a three year timeline, the Steering Committee was asked to:
- develop strategic direction of the Commonwealth Student Association, in continuation with the Strategic Plan developed by the Steering Committee 2012-2015;
- develop and draft policy and procedures of the Commonwealth Student Association to be approved by CSA Congress;
- working with the Commonwealth Secretariat, facilitate the ratification of the CSA Constitution (2015);
- working with the Commonwealth Secretariat, facilitate the election of a CSA Executive Committee;
- represent the Commonwealth Students Association at national, regional and international meetings;
- identify partners and develop partnership plans in accordance to the CSAs purposes, values and principles;
- identify and develop any required services for CSAs members;
- produce quarterly status reports for students in the Commonwealth;
- in consultation with students in the Commonwealth, identify and develop a campaign on a specific theme or for a specific cause;
- develop a sustainability and fund raising plan;
- develop content for the Commonwealth Students Association website and other communication platforms;
- provide general correspondence for the Commonwealth Student Association; and,
- convene the next CSA Congress, which shall take place no more than 40 months after the Inaugural CSA Congress (June 2015).
The Commonwealth Student Association has only recently been formed and so welcomes any resources and support that will help it achieve its goals. One way student leaders can get involved is by signing up to volunteer at various events, be one of the Commonwealth Student Organisers, Contribute to our publications.
The Commonwealth Student Association welcomes the promotion of its work throughout the Commonwealth. Please contact the steering committee with your request.