Oct 26, 2009, 4:59 PM
A three-day training of a network of 41 upper basic school councillors on child-related issues ended yesterday at the Regional Education office in Kanifing.
Participants at the forum were drawn from across region one educational division.
Declaring the forum officially open on behalf of the Minister of Youth and Sports, Sheriff Gomez, theexecutive secretary of the National Youth Council, Marchel Mendy, said the World Bank's World Development Report 2007 recognised the need to move beyond youth employment and adolescent health to addressing issues of social and political exclusion affecting children and young people.
"There is a need to take a broader approach to define children's civil political rights and to relate them explicitly to the achievement of children's rights to survival, development and protection," Minister Gomez said.
According to the minister, to advance beyond entry points for children and youth participation, it is important to define the social, legal, economic and political dimensions of their citizenship and to develop a practical and long term agenda for governments to take actions that reach all of them.
"Of course there is gain saying that government can do a lot to ensure that young people have a greater share in the development of their communities thus at the same time, without the involvement of the committed and informed communities the effects of government’s support for the active citizenship of the young ones may be limited," he said.
The programme communication officer of Unicef, Pa Ousman Manneh, who is also responsible for young people in the agency, said that over the years the participation of children in International Children's Day of Broadcasting and the Day of the African Child "was not the least satisfactory".
Abdoulie Faye, programme officer at the National Youth Council, outlined some of the activities to be carried out by the upper basic school councillors’ network.
The activities will include a radio programme at Unique FM for a period of five months, he said. The radio talk show, he explained, will be aired every Sunday and moderated by a student from
"The network is not meant for conventional schools only (English school); even Arabic schools at Upper Basic Level are also part of the process, because they too are students like you people," he said.