UK Youth Parliament votes for this year’s campaign: Education that prepares for Life

Today, UKYP members sat in the House of Commons for their third historic debate. Each represented their constituency from around the UK and had been voted in by their peers in a representative process.

After polling 250,000 of their peers, they debated five issues that were of most concern to 11 -18 year-olds. Their final vote would choose a campaign which they thought they could win:  making life better for young people.

By a large majority they chose ‘A curriculum to prepare us for life’.

Sumaiya Karim 16 from Wokingham opens final debate in Commons chamber on ‘A Curriculum to Prepare us for Life’. By UK Parliament, on Flickr

Sixteen year-old Sumaiya Karim, from Wokingham, opens the debate in the Commons chamber on ‘A Curriculum to Prepare us for Life’. Image: Parliamentary copyright/Catherine Bebbington

In the debate it was clear what they meant: that schools are becoming too much like ‘exam factories’ and are not doing enough to guarantee that young people will be prepared for the complexity of adult life.

They particularly cited politics, sex and relationships and personal finance connected to the economic downturn.

Disturbingly they thought that PSHE and Citizenship had been dropped as school subjects (which they haven’t, though they might be… no announcement has been made yet) and they wanted to stand up for the value of these subjects alongside academic ones.

It was a huge boost in the arm for our campaign to preserve and indeed reinvigorate these themes and subjects which have suffered from a misconception that they are on the way out.

We are greatly encouraged that young people themselves have seen why these subjects are so important and will join forces in any way we can to support their voice.

Finally our thanks and appreciation to the British Youth Council for creating such a vibrant and uplifting day. It was broadcast live on the BBC Parliament Channel and I can’t help thinking I’ve seen some future stars of the political landscape. If you can catch any excerpts from it, you’ll see what I mean!

Views expressed on this blog are not necessarily those of the Citizenship Foundation.

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