The Importance of The Irish Second-Level Students’ Union
The Irish Second-level Students’ Union (ISSU) is the national representative body for students. It is the only Second-Level students’ union in Ireland. So it is important to know who they are and what they do for you, as they give students a voice in important issues regarding second-level education. The ISSU was founded in 2008 and it is run by students for students. It has 480 member schools and offers all schools an opportunity to join. One of the main requirements to join is that schools should have a running student council. Not only does membership give students a voice, but membership also has many other benefits such as:
- Access to ISSU events
- Access to free student council training
- Support and guidance for student councils from the ISSU
- Voting rights at Regional Councils & Annual Assembly
- Opportunity to nominate candidates to the National Council of Schools (NCS) and National Student Executive (NSE)
This is a great opportunity for students to get involved with the ISSU and the student council in their school. The decision to join is down to the school however I feel students should be encouraged to decide whether they want to join the ISSU as they are the ones being represented.
An ISSU membership also provides more opportunities to be involved with the ISSU. Every year the ISSU holds the Regional Councils where member school’s delegates attend their region’s event where they have the opportunity to run for Regional Officer, meet with other Regional Officers and vote in the elections. These events allow member schools to get involved with the union. In total there are 50 regional officers elected each year. They are known as the National Council of Schools (From 2021, it is envisioned that the NCS will be known as the ROB, or Regional Officer Body.)
The regional officers bring awareness to issues or conflicts in schools in their region, they also organise events on a regional level, help to deliver student council training, hold cluster meetings of student councils and ensure ISSU national campaigns are heard in all member schools of the ISSU.
The Annual Assembly is the most important event for the members it is when the highest governing body is elected. ISSU members attend the event to feed into the work of the ISSU and its policies for the coming year, and learn skills to aid them in furthering student voices in their own schools. This is also when:
- President & Deputy President
- Education Officer
- Equality Officer
- Communications Officer
- Student Council Support Officer
- Oifigeach na Gaeilge (Irish Language Officer)
- International Officer
- Welfare Officer
- Sustainability Officer
A lot goes on behind the scenes to ensure students have a voice, we need to understand that member students of the ISSU behind the scenes are not robots and do a lot to ensure students are listened to and the right decisions are made for students.
If your school is not a member school you can still have a voice. You can contact the ISSU at any time through their website https://www.issu.ie/ or their email address: firstname.lastname@example.org. There are also lots of different opportunities available on the ISSU website.