Members of the First Junior Council (JNC) with the Vice-Chairperson of the National Council (NC) Hon. Bernard Sibalatani (in the middle, next to him on left is the Chairperson of JNC, Hon. John Mbako), Members of Parliament in the NC, Secretary to the National Council Emilia Mkusa (second from left), officials from the National Council and one of the presenters Mandela Kapere posing for the group photo during the Second Session of the JNC
|Story by Rafael Hangula
The First Junior National Council (JNC) has successfully concluded its Second Session, which took place from 30 to 31 August 2018 under the theme Enhancing Partnerships to Strengthen Good Governance in Namibia.
The second session resulted in nine resolutions from the 40 junior councillors representing Namibia’s 14 regions in the two-day event.
The Vice-Chairperson of the National Council Hon. Bernard Sibalatani when he officially opened the session said that the Junior National Council contributes immensely to the deepening of Namibia’s democracy and it is one of the tools for involvement and participation of the young citizens in the Legislature.
“I must say that this Legislature belongs to you and we shall continuously strive to ensure that the voices of young people are heard within this Chamber. I thus challenge you to take full ownership of the Chamber,” said Sibalatani.
He added that the National Council is taking forward this invaluable programme because democracy demands active and involved citizens of all ages taking action to make their societies a better place.
“We cannot expect young people to emerge from secondary schools as active citizens if they have no understanding or experience of what participation in democracy means,” he stressed.
“We are glad to note that there has been a positive response to some of the recommendations adopted by our first Junior Council. Out of 11 recommendations, 6 were successfully implemented,” he said.
The Junior Council is one of the many initiatives of the National Council in achieving its strategic goal of “Enhancing Public Participation in the Law-Making Process”.
The junior councilors passed the following recommendations:
- National leaders to take into account or solicit the views of the youth in policy form and implementation, The Ministry of Education, Arts and Culture should make aptitude Test compulsory at grade 7 and 9 to ensure focus learning and specialization skills development from a younger age, the Ministry of Education, Arts and Culture should consider allowing schools to let learners take 7th subject provided that they are willing and able to cope with additional pressure and while acknowledging the existence of the neighbourhood watch initiatives, there is still a need for broader awareness on the importance of establishment of the neighbourhood watches and its benefits, especially within the poorer communities.
- Life Skills curriculum should address social media platforms with its benefits and disadvantages to learners from younger age, there is a need for social network policies in our country, hence the Ministry of Information and Communication Technology (MICT) should spearhead the establishment and implementation of effective social media policy, schools should facilitate education tours to extractive industry establishments to trigger interest of youth, the Ministry Education, Arts and Culture should build the capacity of the Life Skills teachers and also to make it compulsory for the teachers to attend career fairs.
And finally the Ministry of Higher Education, Training and Innovation should actively engage the national tertiary institutions to streamline the faculties with Vision 2030, Harambe Prosperity Plan and National Development Plans (NDPs) to ensure that skills they teach and build are actually the skills required by the job market.
The JNC held several debates on topics such as strengthening youth participation in budgeting process at local and national levels, the role of media in youth development, is our education system preparing the youth for futuristic challenges: How to succeed in a globalized, technology driven, knowledge-based world, effects of human trafficking on the youth and effects of cybercrime on the youth amongst others.
Inaugurated in 2017, the JNC is the mouthpiece of school going youth in Namibia through which the youth voice their opinions and debate matters of national and international interest.
Its composition mirrors that of its senior counterparts, with three members from the 14 Junior Regional Councils, which makes up the 42 members of the Junior National Council. The members of the JNC are nominated in their regions through a process based on their leadership skills and ability to debate issues of common interest.