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Friday, July 12, 2024

32nd session of Junior Parliament opens

Story by John Nhandara

THE 32nd session of the Junior Parliament was officially opened this Wednesday with the Child President, Honourable Pious Nleya delivering his State of the Nation Address (SONA) that tackled issues to do with access to education for youths, vocational training centres as well as the drug and substance abuse scourge, among other issues.

The Child President challenged the Junior Parliament to come up with innovative ideas that promote access to quality education and address challenges posed by climate change.

The official opening ceremony coincided with belated commemorations of the Day of the African Child running under the theme: “Education for All Children in Africa, the Time is Now.”

“We need more resources to be channelled towards vocational training. Climate change is a reality. I challenge the August House to debate on climate-smart initiatives for the resilience of our education. On the issue of drug and substance abuse, all of us should rally on the fight against the scourge,” said the Child President.

Soon after the State of the Nation address by the Child President, there was a joint sitting of the lower and upper houses that saw junior legislators and senators debating on topical issues to do with the welfare of youths where the topic of education infrastructure dominated debate.

“We want the government to provide learning materials for the disabled to ensure effective learning. We don’t have sufficient equipment. So we need the provision of specialised equipment and assistive devices for our learning,” said a Child Parliamentarian.

Another said, “We are travelling long distances to school and the teacher-pupil ratio is high sometimes. How is this going to be addressed?”

Youth Empowerment, Development and Vocational Training Minister, Honourable Tino Machakaire described the debate in the junior parliament as key in policy-making and achieving the vision of an upper-middle-income society by 2030.

“Empowered youths can harness their energies to achieve an empowered society by 2030. The depth of debate was rich. Young people are key players in national development,” said Honourable Machakaire.

Meanwhile, various senior cabinet ministers took the opportunity to respond to multiple topical issues raised in the debate by junior parliamentarians, outlining the government’s policy direction, constitutional provisions and legislative frameworks that are available to promote the welfare of youths and address the challenges they face.

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