Nicola Cowsill | February 2016
Among my normal duties this month I have been promoting the tours for Island schools to come and visit the Legislative Buildings on an organised tour. Here in the Chamber and Information Service, a large part of our jobs is Education and Outreach. We know it is really important for young people to be informed about what goes on in Tynwald as it affects them!
Did you know?
It has been 10 years since 16year olds could vote in a General Election on the Isle of Man, and 150 years since the Island had a popularly elected House of Keys.
Education about politics is something I feel very strongly about, as even though I went to school on the island, I did not learn anything about Manx politics. I believe it is important for children to be aware so they can come politically active when they are older. When I was at University I worked on a project for the Newcastle City Council looking at why younger people are not engaging with politics. I did a survey with students around Newcastle and the main reason was that they were disinterested in politics because they did not understand it and for this reason they did care about it.
Although our parliament is small, our Tynwald members make the time to work closely with the schools on the Island and take part in some of the school tours of Chambers. The children can ask challenging questions to their local MHK's but they are sometimes a little different to the questions asked by older constituents!
We have already had many responses for the tours and visits. Some primary schools have chosen a Q&A tour and some have chosen a scripted tour. A scripted tour includes a sitting in the House of Keys and all the children play the parts of the Members of the House of Keys, including the Speaker who chairs the sitting. This is an interactive way for the children to learn how the sittings are run and how decisions are made. Tours of all the chambers help students understand how our legislation is carried through the chambers, finally through to Royal Assent. The President of Tynwald, the Hon. Clare Christian MLC, also offers visits to the schools all across the island where she presents the structure of the three chambers and runs workshops with the children.
To learn more about the education tours offered to schools and other youth groups please visit the education pages on the Tynwald website - www.tynwald.org.im/education/- or contact the Tynwald Library tel: 01624 685520.