Democracy in the Children’s Parliament, listen to their voices!
Children Bilingual Manager and author the children bilingual book: “The Adventures of Enzo”
We are at the beginning of the school year when the children go one after the other to their classroom.
The light dazzles on the blackboard, it is warm it heats the desks. Each child takes their place near their neighbours, there is silence and finally the teacher comes in the class and closes the door.
From now on, children know they will learn how to read, to write, to count, to study history, discover geography and much more.
But do they know that they will also learn to be equal—that every child or an other person with the right to speak and to be respected?
Little by little the word “Democracy” disappeared from our schoolbooks. Children question this concept because it isn’t a familiar word at such a young age!
But, are they not the adults of tomorrow?
Democracy: the power, the authority exercised by the people. It is also respect, mutual dialogue and consideration. We find it in education, culture, communication, intercultural relationships, peaceful and nonviolent movements, the environment, and throughout economic and human development.
A voice rises, one from the teacher allowing each child to ask the right question.
After having listened to and understood the importance of:
-You have the right to say how you plan your hopes, your expectations, your life, your community and your country.
Each child takes a pen, writes in their most beautiful writing on a blank page, fills empty pages and begins to know:
-I want political tolerance
-We have to strengthen our democracy
-We want peace
-Love for all
-We must all speak loud and clear with conviction.
-We need to promote and preserve the dignity and the rights of the individual
-We do not want any more weapons
-No more famine
-We need to ensure togetherness and social justice
-We need to promote economic and social development
-We need to ensure the stability and well being of society
–Are our voices well heard? A question from children in fifth grade.
–Make your voice heard so that it can bear until the Government and further still … Response by the teacher.
A unique initiative of its kind, the World Parliament of Children can be heard. Sometimes it happens that the government listens to adopt the World Parliament of Children.
In France, we started the first Parliament of Children in 1994, followed in 1996 with the first proposal of law of the school Louis Pasteurof Limeil – Brévannes on keeping siblings in the event of parental separation. It became an act on December 30th, 1996 (covered by a member of the Val-de-Marne, Mr. Roger-Gérard Schwartzenberg). Children became members at the age of 10.
But that is not all. The children’s Parliament discussed him in 1997 by adopting a proposal for a school Saint Martin of Tours on the rights of orphans to attend the family Council. It is the drama lived by the young Armelle, who lost his father in a road accident and whose mother became invalid following a second accident, which prompted the Touraine students interested in this subject. It became law on May 14, 1998.
And then in 1998, the Children’s Parliament adopted the law of school Saint-Exupéry de Sarcelles wishing to ban the purchase of goods made by children in countries where the rights of the child are not respected by schools and local communities. The National Assembly adopted it on November 19th, 1998.
And if we cross the oceans and seas we also read in India aboutthe Children’s Parliament, or the College of Thonnakutta Alli that had no infrastructure of drinking water for its students. The children had to walk a mile before arriving with a glass of water before the District of Barathiar; the Parliament of this village decided to take initiatives to solve this problem faced by all children.
Or in Mali they have to keep their own school clean; it is a priority. “Every Friday at 7: students cleans our school, including the restrooms.”
Discrimination, Lisa Sao, 10 years the school Minister added that she was particularly concerned about how the boys treat girls. “If a boy beats a girl, the girl will come tell me and I will make a report to the Council school and parents to inform them.”
Return to Our Polynesian Islands
The 18th Parliament of Children adopted in June 10, 2013 a draft law aiming to prevent the facts of violence and discrimination in schools and help students who are victims, presented by a Polynesian class. “I am proud to represent my territory, my island, my class, who have chosen me to present this draft law,” said Laurent in a solemn tone. “The draft law of my class discusses school violence, a universal subject. Today more than ever, it is an urgent subject. In French Polynesia, we are in the heart of the problem. More and more violence of any kind in colleges and high schools have students and teachers in trouble. Some may suffer. They lock themselves in their silence, and even put an end to their lives,“ he said with seriousness.
And it is because we want more talk about seriousness, we must listen to our children speak!
We hear the ringer sound, the smiling children saying goodbye to their teacher. Tomorrow, a new day will dawn for each and a response to a question and will be able to proudly say:
-Remember these three words that make our democracy a force:
Liberty, equality and fraternity.
Translate by Bélinda colasse
This article was published on September 15th: International Day of Democracy, in Global Education Magazine.