Allow me space to register my strong support for your countries youth Parliament. The initiators would have their reasons and list of benefits they expect such a program would bring. As an extra curricula programme clearly some of the benefits are to build confidence, encourage creativity, and build public speaking skills amongst students.
My five years experience in your country is that Solomon Islands has some very eloquent and influential public speakers in the Government, private circles and churches. Equally so on the reverse is that many are shy, generally quite or fear of raising their voice (except in the print and electronic media).
The shy and quite attitude of many could be a result of cultural and family practices that children should not argue but follow the elders view as a matter of respect. This upbringing has suppressed childhood growth and holds back the potential of many students. Your education system has not been very successful in correcting these fundamental weaknesses of life.
The Youth Parliament is an innovative idea and I am glad that, if one of the writers is true, no other Pacific neighbours have done this. The initiators should be congratulated for this. I have the following suggestions to make, please ignore if they have been part of the Youth Parliament Program:
Amongst others, aim to build confidence, public speaking skills, negotiation skills, synergistic collaboration, and diplomacy in presentation amongst participants.
Second some kind of youth Parliament or a debate/public speaking club should be encouraged in all schools, particularly rural. All should affiliate and link with the National Youth Parliament. And perhaps once a year an elected youth representative should be picked from each constituency to participate in a National Youth Parliament. This would be a very beneficial area the RCDF could fund.
Teachers and communities should take up this initiative and guide pupils to start the practice of research into topics of debate. These topics could be on culture, and community development issues. The important thing is to start develop intellectual curiosity and as well as building fundamental skills and qualities of life such as confidence, creativity, dialogue, public speaking negotiation, etc.
I would encourage those with sufficient earning to start prize debate competition in their rural schools. And different innovative approach to debate should be explored.
Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in this letter are those of Jose Binco and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of Solomon Times Online.
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