Student council (aka, student government group, student union or student body) is a curricular or extracurricular activity for students within elementary and secondary schools around the world. Present in most public and private K-12 school systems across the United States, Canada, Australia and Asia. These bodies are alternatively entitled student council, student government, Associated Student Body, Student Activity Council, Student Council Association or S.C.A. Student councils often serve to engage students in learning about democracy and leadership, as originally espoused by John Dewey in Democracy and Education (1917).
The student council helps share students’ ideas, interests, and concerns with teachers and school principals. They often also help raise funds for school-wide activities, including social events, community projects, helping people in need and school reform. For example most schools do food drives, fundraisers and parties. Many members learn skills that were an extension of their formal education. They help the environment.
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, and girls rep. 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. 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. 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.
Student councils usually do not have funding authority and generally must generate their operating funds through fundraisers such as car washes and bake sales. 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 join larger associations, and in the United States, the National Association of Student Councils. In Canada, the Canadian Student Leadership Association coordinates the national scene, and in the United Kingdom an organization called involver provides training, support and coordination for the nation's student councils
Student Councils (or sometimes Student Voice 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..
All post-primary schools have a legal entitlement to a Student Council (and most schools do have one). The Education Act of 1998, Subsection 3 states ‘students of a post-primary school may establish a student council’.
Furthermore, ‘a board of a post-primary school shall encourage the establishment by students of a student council and shall facilitate and give all reasonable assistance to – a) students who wish to establish a student council and b) student councils when they have been established.’
Subsection 4 gives a definition of what a student council should do.
‘A student council shall promote the interests of the school and the involvement of students in the affairs of the school, in co-operation with the board, parents and teachers.’
In Ireland, a Student Council is defined as: "A representative structure through which students in a post-primary school can become involved in the affairs of the school, working in partnership with school management and staff and parents for the benefit of the school and its students (2002:8)"
The Student councils in Indonesia are officially formed by the government and is called OSIS (Organisasi Siswa Intra Sekolah). OSIS is present in both junior high school and high school. Every school year, each school admits 36 students who meets the members' qualifications to join OSIS while the president is voted by students of the school.
Student governments of different schools throughout the Philippines Republic are often directly elected by student body members of the class or organization which they supposedly govern. In most cases, especially in highschools, candidates can only run for the following positions:
- Vice President
- Public Relations Officer (can be split into External and Internal if needed)
- National Association of Student Councils 
- California Association of Student Councils 
- Texas Association of Student Councils 
- Oklahoma Association of Student Councils 
- Oregon Association of Student Councils
- Pennsylvania Association of Student Councils
- Michigan Associations of Student Councils and Honor Societies*
- Minnesota Association of Student Councils
- Northeast District Student Council
- Illinois Association of Student Councils
- Biddeford High School Student Council
- New Mexico Association of Student Councils
- Wisconsin Association of School Councils
- North Carolina Association of Student Councils www.ncasc.us
Israel's national student and youth council (Hebrjew: 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, and North). 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 founde 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!"
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.
Since 1998 in Ireland there has been sustained development of student councils in post primary schools. In 2001 the Union of Secondary Students was founded as the National Umbrella body to organize and coordinate the national campaign efforts of the student councils. The Union of Secondary Students has a membership of 13% of post primary students in the Republic of Ireland, and the number is increasing.
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 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", etc.
Most of the universities in Spain 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.
In Bulgaria most of the universities have a student council, regulated by law and the regulations of each university. The biggest one in Bulgaria is the Student Council of Sofia University - http://students.uni-sofia.bg/
In India, Student Councils have been introduced in almost all Private and Public Schools. Student council plays an important role in Indian schools.
Structure of Student council in India:
1. Head Boy, Head Girl / President / School Captain / Head Prefect.
2. Vice Head Boy, Vice Head Girl / Vice President / Deputy Head Boy, Deputy Head Girl / School Vice Captain.
3. Acting Vice Head Boy, Acting Vice Head Girl/ Senior Secretary (junior to Acting Vice Head Boy, if any)/ Disciplinary In-Charge/ In-Charge of Duties and Records/School Coordinator
4. Secretary(or Secretaries) / House Captains /Senior Prefects (junior to Secretary, if any)
5. School Prefects / Prefects / Volunteers/ Heads and Members of Group (like literary board, art and design, etc, if any)
6. Class Monitors
7. Vice Monitors
8. Other Monitors (distribution/collection/health/lunch/board/cupboard/records/subject monitor/etc.)
Student Council in India maybe elected, nominated or selected after interview (or written examination or both).
In Canada, the student council is used for helping the school with special events and planning other events. The student council also raises money for food banks.
- "Student Council", Mills Lawn School. Retrieved 11/29/07.
- Fletcher, A. (2005) Meaningful Student Involvement. SoundOut. Retrieved 11/29/07.
- "A Journey Through the Student Council School Year œ Elementary Focus", Montgomery County Public Schools. Retrieved 11/29/07.
- English, U. (1972) "Organizing a Middle School or Junior High School Student Council." National Association of Middle School Principals. ED103795. Retrieved 11/29/07.
- "Student Government Association Officers' Petition" FAIRFAX COUNTY PUBLIC SCHOOLS website
- "Fundraising ideas", Michigan Association of Secondary School Principals. Retrieved 11/29/07.
- CSLA. Retrieved 11/29/07.
- involver. Retrieved 11/29/07.
- "Trinity College Dublin: Second Level Student Councils in Ireland" (PDF). TCD.ie. Trinity College Dublin (IE).
- "NASC - National Association of Student Councils". Nasc.us. Retrieved 2011-09-25.
- "California Association of Student Councils". CASC. Retrieved 2011-09-25.
- "TASC". Tasconline.org. Retrieved 2011-09-25.
- "Oklahoma Association of Student Councils". Oascok.org. Retrieved 2011-09-25.
- "Building Tomorrow's Leaders Today". Masc / Mahs. Retrieved 2011-09-25.
- "BHSStudentCouncil - home". Bhsstudentcouncil.wikispaces.com. 2010-01-14. Retrieved 2011-09-25.
- Dynamx Digital. "NMASC Online". Nmasc.org. Retrieved 2011-09-25.