Teenagers have their say in Tynwald

Students take part in Junior Tynwald 2012. (Picture: Paul Dougherty, Tynwald Seneschal)

Students take part in Junior Tynwald 2012. (Picture: Paul Dougherty, Tynwald Seneschal)

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Reducing dependency on the motor car, the future of government funding of university tuition fees and measures to combat prejudice are among items listed on the Question Paper for Junior Tynwald when the court sits on Monday July 15.

Organised by the Isle of Man branch of the Commonwealth Parliamentary Association (CPA) in association with the Department of Education and Children, the court brings together 16- and 17-year-olds from the island’s five state secondary schools who serve as elected politicians for the sitting.

Each school will ask three questions to be answered by a Tynwald member and two motions will be moved and voted upon.

CPA Isle of Man branch chairman Juan Watterson MHK said: ‘Every year the proceedings not only provide an insight into young people’s political thinking and their take on Manx current affairs but also demonstrate the students’ accomplished debating skills and grasp of parliamentary procedures. Junior Tynwald can help students develop their self confidence, which will serve them well in later life and, perhaps for some, ignite a passion for a career in politics.

‘The Commonwealth Parliamentary Association has long been keen to engage with young people, not only to promote the importance of parliamentary democracy through initiatives such as Junior Tynwald, but also in a wider context to emphasise the importance of the values and institutions that form the bedrock of the Commonwealth and have shaped its theme for 2013, “Opportunity through Enterprise”.’

Tim Crookall MHK, Minister for Education and Children, said: ‘Our pupils learn all about Tynwald, the world’s oldest unbroken parliament, in the classroom and are often shown around its chambers by their local MHKs but Junior Tynwald offers Year 12 students the unique opportunity to actually sit in the Tynwald Chamber, in the seats normally occupied by members, and to table motions and ask questions about the issues of the day. I hope this flavour of what it’s like to be involved in running the Island whets students’ appetites to take a keen interest in politics as young adults and maybe even to follow in our footsteps one day and stand for the House of Keys.’

Before the sitting the students will receive a tour of the Legislative Buildings followed by a pre-briefing session, after which the formal proceedings will take place.

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 a radio station and Isle of Man Newspapers.

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