• Wilcannia student Amelia Whyman in Sydney, visiting as a DOVE representative (Jennetta Quinn-Bates)Source: Jennetta Quinn-Bates
Barkindji teenager Amelia Whyman is a part of the NSW Education Minister’s innovative Student Council representing the voices of over 800,000 NSW high school students.
Jennetta Quinn-Bates

20 May 2021 - 2:21 PM  UPDATED 20 May 2021 - 6:26 PM

A Wilcannia teenager from west-NSW has travelled to the State Parliament to speak directly with policy-makers about educational priorities for her community.

A major responsibility, Amelia Whyman joins 27 students, representing over 800,000 of her peers from across New South Wales' public high schools. 

Whyman is a part of the Department of Student Voices in Education and Schools (DOVE), comprising three public school students from each of the eight regions across the state. Another three students joined the Council from the Connected Communities program. 

The initiative provides an opportunity to interact with decision-makers by relaying feedback from schools in their home communities, in an effort to add their ideas and opinions to the process of education policy development. 

Amelia, one of six Aboriginal representatives on the council, told NITV News she was proud to be a voice for her friends.

"I've been selected by the DOVES council in order to speak up for students about things regarding new rules that can be used around the world," she said. 

“It’s probably important for kids to see that if they make a better choice, they can go further, and they can be much better.

"It’s just really important to learn new things."

The 13-year-old flew to Sydney on Wednesday where she met the rest of the council's student members, before heading to NSW Parliament House and gaining an audience with NSW Education Minister Sarah Mitchell. 

“I did an Acknowledgement of Country in Barkindji language but because I wasn’t in Wilcannia, I had to add Gadigal and Eora.” she said.

They discussed issues including resourcing for remote and low-socioeconomic schools, consent, behaviour and mobile phone use.

While enjoying the three-day trip, Amelia, a student at the Wilcannia Central School, stressed the importance of all youth having access to quality education.

"I reckon that the people that really like getting educated and want to learn to read more are my sister and me and other people," she said.

"With education, there are some fun things you can do and you can explore ... You can go to new places and explore new things."

The council will meet online twice a term with the Education Minister to join the final meetings each time.


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