Being VP of Education at City’s Students’ Union is not an easy job. But 22-year-old Ruqaiyah Javaid is prepared for the challenge. A final year student in Speech and Language Therapy, Javaid claims that she is the most prepared, and therefore, the best candidate for the job.
Talking about her experience, she says that she is not new to the Student’s Union. Previously she has worked as a School Representative Officer for the School of Health and social sciences, which works closely with the VP of Education.
Javaid says that she has proven many times that she is heavily involved with the university. From working as a communications officer for the Palestinian Society to being the NUS delegate for City, she has fought for several issues in the Students’ Union. “I’ve made sure I modeled myself to be the best VP of education that this university deserves.”
Apart from her experience, Javaid highlights other things in her manifesto. Like others, she is advocating for a better feedback process. “I would like to standarised the way that coursework feedback is given, so everybody gets the same structure of assessment feedback and the same level of detail, so we can all have the opportunity to get the best grades possible.”
In regards to how the strikes have impacted students across City, Javaid says that she has had a lot of conversations with students who have been missing lectures, admitting that it’s going to be more difficult to compete for assessment if you have to cover the content on your own. “I think there has to be a conversation about reimbursement because a lot of are paying a lot of money to be here, in particular international students.” She also pledges to have that conversation if she gets elected, “putting the voice of students forward”.
Democracy in the Students’ Union is also a big issue that Javaid plans to tackle. She has pledged to pay more attention to CASS and postgraduate students, a collective that she says are being “neglected” by the Students’ Union. In her opinion, there needs to be more efforts to include these two groups in the City community so they can feel just as welcome as undergraduates and have the same experience of student life. One of her ideas to reach inclusivity is organising more events targeted to those groups in different buildings across university and more signposting in their spaces to let them know what is happening.
One of the other major points in Javaid’s manifesto is tackling discrimination at City, particularly the BAME attainment gap and Prevent. “[The BAME attainment gap] is something shocking for a lot of people, not a lot of people her about this, but there is a gap and more research is needed to know how that is manifesting at City University.” Javaid is also prioritising a strong anti-prevent message.
“It’s an Islamophobic and anti-black law: it’s something that affects a lot of students, and it’s about the self-censorship that a lot of us do. Trying not to seem too Muslim, too political, too radical.” Javaid says that PREVENT affects freedom of speech on campus and that, as VP of Education, she will try to work with the SU and staff to minimise the impact of it.
For Javaid, one of the goals that the university should work on is improving the employability of students. “We all go to university to get the best job and the best future as possible, so I think making sure we are as employable as possible it’s important.” She adds that she would like to invite more companies into campus and work with students to help them find placements, so they can actually get a job offer at the end of it.
As the campaign comes to an end, Javaid remarks how much she has already being there for students across all schools at City, and that even if she doesn’t get elected she will still be fighting to make things better for them.