“Being young is about being invincible; being young is about shaping your life, shaping yourself and believing in yourself, it is about living your dreams. I believe the world will be a better place if we allow young people to determine their own lives and to be able to make choices about that life.”
Dr. Babatunde Osotimehin, Executive Director, United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA)

Welcome to our Student Voice space! Please take time to have a look at what students across the Commonwealth are saying and make a comment if you’d like. Click and article to read more.


On Friday 23rd May, the Commonwealth Students’ Association celebrated their partnership  with the University of Essex Bar Society by signing a Memorandum of Understanding.   The relationship will mean members of the CSA can receive legal advice to develop associations and unions and legal guidance on student matters related to the  Commonwealth Charter. I wish to thank the University of Essex Bar Society for taking the bold step to establish this programme. I also join them in celebrating the University of Essex’s Golden Jubilee since its establishment. The Commonwealth Students’ Association’s purpose is to bring student concerns to the forefront of educational development. Indeed, this initiative will help us achieve our aim of being a visible, credible, sustainable and engaging association. We seek to empower student organisations to influence key education decisions and policies on behalf of their constituency. This is in line with the 2014 World Conference on Youth’s call: “nothing about us, without us.” The Memorandum Of Understanding  signing marks the beginning of what we expect to be a fruitful partnership between our two organisations. Knowledge is power, and now that power is at the touch of a button: when a student is in need of legal assistance, now he or she need just ask. This programme is the embodiment of the 2014 Commonwealth theme, #TeamCommonwealth. By helping law students throughout the Commonwealth to understand and secure their rights, we have shifted the ground in Commonwealth cooperation. I commend the foresight of Mr Chad Blackman and his team from the University of Essex, Ms Ayswarrya Ganapathiraman and Ms Danielle Grufferty, Asia and Africa Regional Representatives to the Steering Committee respectively. Although the programme has started small, I foresee […]  !function(d,s,id){var js,fjs=d.getElementsByTagName(s)[0],p=/^http:/.test(d.location)?'http':'https';if(!d.getElementById(id)){js=d.createElement(s);js.id=id;js.src=p+'://platform.twitter.com/widgets.js';fjs.parentNode.insertBefore(js,fjs);}}(document, 'script', 'twitter-wjs');lang: en_US

International Human Rights Day Tribute to Anti-Apartheid Icon

On this year’s International Human Rights Day, the Commonwealth Students’ Association and the University of Essex Bar Society join the people of the Republic of South Africa in mourning the death and celebrating the life of the great icon, leader and founding father, Tata Nelson “Madiba” Mandela. Across the world, men and women are raising their voices, their hearts and their hands in remembrance of probably the greatest soul that lived in our life time. Indeed it is true, it is the living who close the eyes of the dead, but it is the dead who open the eyes of the living. Tata Madiba opened our eyes to the possibility that we, as global citizens, can live as brother and sister, regardless of our ethnic, economic, socio-cultural or historically diverse backgrounds. Though he was not the only one, there were countless others had lost their lives along the way, Tata Madiba was the face of the struggle against apartheid – an evil system that flew in the face of all civil, political, social and economic rights- in South Africa. In as much as in his earlier days he had issued a call to arms, Tata Madiba demonstrated that it is possible to make an ideological shift by rising to walk in the footsteps of Mahatma Gandhi. His transformation was not without a cost: he had painfully borne the personal price for his stance.  He chose the highroad of suffering without bitterness and in his choice, he became the unifying factor of a then torn South Africa. In a country that in our lifetime had seen the worst racial prejudice, he led the greatest racial healing. He wanted everyone to be free, enfranchised and empowered. He became […]  !function(d,s,id){var js,fjs=d.getElementsByTagName(s)[0],p=/^http:/.test(d.location)?'http':'https';if(!d.getElementById(id)){js=d.createElement(s);js.id=id;js.src=p+'://platform.twitter.com/widgets.js';fjs.parentNode.insertBefore(js,fjs);}}(document, 'script', 'twitter-wjs');lang: en_US
By |December 10th, 2013|Students Say|0 Comments

Investment in Education is vital to Youth Development- But students deserve a seat at the table!

17th November marks the International Students Day. As we commemorate this day, the Commonwealth Students Association calls for deeper investment in education and for student voices to be taken seriously by political leaders and policy formulators. 60% of the Commonwealth’s population is under the age of 30; and a significant number of those young people are students.  Students are major stakeholders in not only the education sector but also all aspects of the state that affect their future, and for far too long they have not been meaningfully engaged in the development and implementation of policies that affect them. This is contrary to the article 12 of the Convention on the Rights of the Child, which makes provision for young people to be included in decision making processes.  It is time for change. The recent Youth Development Report released by the Commonwealth has shown massive disparity in youth chances across Commonwealth countries. As mentioned in the report, “the YDI is a useful tool for us to compare our government’s investments in youth with outcomes attained. Students organizing internationally gives us opportunity to highlight educational disparity. Ironically, more youth are losing out too in these countries – as they have more young people! Our message today on students’ day is clear; surely those countries with more youth should have more investment in education. But the opposite seems to be the case. But critical still is education, as Maxwell Dlamini says, President of the University of Swaziland and recently arrested without charge for engaging in pro-democracy protests; “It is a duty and responsibility of each and every government to make sure that […]  !function(d,s,id){var js,fjs=d.getElementsByTagName(s)[0],p=/^http:/.test(d.location)?'http':'https';if(!d.getElementById(id)){js=d.createElement(s);js.id=id;js.src=p+'://platform.twitter.com/widgets.js';fjs.parentNode.insertBefore(js,fjs);}}(document, 'script', 'twitter-wjs');lang: en_US
By |November 19th, 2013|Students Say|0 Comments

Status of education in the developing Commonwealth countries of Asia

Education is a passport to human development, helps abolish social evils such as poverty, promotes sustainable development and helps global development. But unequal access to schooling, gender parity, lack of quality threatens the universal goal of education for all from becoming a reality. Here’s a brief on the status of education and efforts taken by the governments in the developing Commonwealth countries in Asia. Let’s have a glimpse at the literacy rates of the four developed countries: Singapore has a literacy rate of 96.1 per cent, for Malaysia it’s 95 per cent, in Maldives it is 98.82% while in Brunei it is more than 90%. This is because central governments in these countries spend a lot not only access to education, but also on quality of education, skills-based training and ICT. In contrast with these, the four developing nations present a sorry figure. This is largely due to lack of sufficient funds allocated by their governments for education. A quick glance through the statistics for the developing countries will provide a gist of the whole situation. According to official figures, India currently spends 4.1 per cent of its GDP on education, Sri Lanka spends 5.0 per cent, Bangladesh spends 2.4 per cent and Pakistan spends a meager 1.4 per cent. Also, while these are all official figures submitted by the individual governments, an insight into each of these countries would again tell us another story. For example, last year, the Federation of University Teachers’ Associations (FUTA) in Sri Lanka had organized a nationwide campaign asking the government to prioritize education and raise the budgetary allocation for education to 6%. According to FUTA, the government spent only around 1.9% of their GDP on education (as opposed to the official […]  !function(d,s,id){var js,fjs=d.getElementsByTagName(s)[0],p=/^http:/.test(d.location)?'http':'https';if(!d.getElementById(id)){js=d.createElement(s);js.id=id;js.src=p+'://platform.twitter.com/widgets.js';fjs.parentNode.insertBefore(js,fjs);}}(document, 'script', 'twitter-wjs');lang: en_US