Advancing digital democracy and seeking measures to prevent school leavers falling into the NEETS category are among topics set to prompt lively debate when Junior Tynwald Court sits on Monday July 16th. Organised by the Isle of Man branch of the Commonwealth Parliamentary Association (CPA) in association with the Department of Education and Children the Court will bring together Year 12 student teams from the Island’s five state secondary schools who will assume the roles of politicians. CPA Isle of Man branch chairman Mr Juan Watterson MHK said: ‘Students’ enthusiasm for and knowledge of Manx current affairs never ceases to impress and delight those of us fortunate enough to observe the proceedings of Junior Tynwald.
Every year this very special sitting serves not only to showcase the wealth of oratory talent possessed by our young people but also to help them develop their self confidence and communication skills which will equip them when they leave full-time education and enter the world of work. Indeed 15 years ago, I represented Castle Rushen High School in Junior Tynwald which sparked an enthusiasm for politics which I have been fortunate enough to pursue.’ ‘The Commonwealth Parliamentary Association is keen to promote the importance of parliamentary democracy to the electorate of the future.
Junior Tynwald is central to that objective and, from an elected politician’s perspective, the sitting offers an all too rare insight into what are the issues of the moment exercising young people of the Isle of Man. Hon David Anderson MHK, Minister for Education and Children said: ‘Our young people have the vote at 16 and it’s important they understand how the parliamentary process works. After all, the laws passed in Tynwald’s branches and the decisions made there affect every one of us. ‘During Junior Tynwald, young people will take the seats of Tynwald Members and participate in a live sitting, debating issues that matter to them.
I hope this first taste of politics in the Tynwald chamber leads to their having a lifelong interest in the way the Island is run and possibly even standing for election themselves one day.’ On arrival the students will receive a tour of the Legislative Buildings followed by a pre-briefing session, after which the formal proceedings will take place.
Each school will ask three questions to be answered by a Tynwald Member and two motions, one by a representative from Castle Rushen High School, the other from St Ninian’s High School, will be moved and voted upon. The sitting will not be open to the general public but observers from each participating school are invited to watch from the public gallery.
Additionally a number of students will be acting as members of the local media under the supervision of reporters from Manx Radio and Isle of Man Newspapers.
Mr Jonathan King
Isle of Man Branch of the CPA, Legislative Buildings, Douglas, IM1 3PW
Tel: 01624 686303