It is important that future generations engage in politics and understand how their Island is governed.
That is the view of Tim Crookall MLC, Minister for Education and Children, as students from his Department’s five secondary schools prepare to take part in Junior Tynwald.
The annual sitting in July replicates the monthly sittings of the Island’s parliament, with sixth formers convening in the Tynwald Chamber to table questions and debating motions.
Fifty students gathered at the Barrool Suite today (Wednesday) to take part in a preparatory convention at which they debated issues relating to education, health, social care, economic affairs, the electoral system and other matters affecting them.
The event had input from President of Tynwald Clare Christian MLC and Speaker of the House of Keys Steve Rodan.
Their discussions led to them shortlisting the topics they wish to table for Junior Tynwald on 18 July.
Minister Crookall said: ‘The Island led the way in giving the vote to 16-year-olds and students taking part today will have their say at the ballot boxes in tomorrow’s local authority elections and September’s House of Keys general election.
‘It’s important for the prosperity of the Island that young people take an interest in politics and understand how decisions affecting their future are made.
‘It’s hoped that taking part in Junior Tynwald will even lead to them considering standing for public office and playing a role in governing the Island in later life.’
Joel Smith, School Improvement Adviser with the Department of Education and Children, said today’s convention was a first.
‘It has enabled students to come together to discuss the issues they see affecting their futures and has led to some lively debate,’ he said.
‘Events like this can only bridge any gap between decision-makers and young people who may sometimes feel disconnected from politics.’
Students can apply to be added to the electoral register by requesting a registration form from the Electoral Registration Unit at Government Offices – ring +44 1624 685754, email firstname.lastname@example.org or visit www.gov.im/categories/home-and-neighbourhood/elections-and-voting/
To be included in the next update of the electoral register, the form must be returned by 17 June 2016.