Honiara, Solomon Islands – More than 60 persons attended the “Education Stakeholders Parliamentary Seminar” held at Commonwealth Youth Center Thursday this week. The seminar gave the participants an insight into the work of the Parliamentary Civic Education Unit (PCEU) as well as a chance to discuss how to develop good education on parliamentary democracy.
The PCEU is a relatively new unit that was established under the second phase of UNDP Parliamentary Strengthening Programme. The programme gets financial support from UNDP and AusAID, through the Regional Assistance Mission to Solomon Islands (RAMSI), and is implemented by UNDP in collaboration with the National Parliament Office (NPO).
In his opening speech Speaker of the Parliament, Sir Peter Kenilorea, highlighted the ultimate goal of the seminar.
“I have no doubt that all of us who are gathered here today have a common goal, and that is to groom Solomon Islanders to be good citizens and to pave the way forward for Solomon Islanders to recognize and appreciate Parliamentary democracy.”
Later on, UNDP Programme Analyst Jude Devesi gave an introduction on UNDP Parliamentary Strengthening Programme. This programme is now in its second phase (2008-2012), and one of its objectives is to strengthen Parliamentary Education and Community Engagement Services.
The expected outcome for the Parliamentary Education and Community Engagement Services is that “Parliamentary Education and Community Engagement Services will facilitate citizens engagement with and develop knowledge about the National Parliament and representative democracy, reduce resistance to women candidacy and assist citizens to exercise their rights and responsibilities in a free and fair manner according to the constitution”.
During the full-day seminar Parliamentary Education Officer, Ellen Inahia presented an overview of the role of the Parliamentary Civic Education Unit (PCEU), which disseminates information to young Solomon Islanders about how the parliamentary system works. An example is allowing schools to visit the Parliament and the inaugural of Solomon Islands National Youth Parliament 2009. In addition to this, a legal officer of the National Parliament gave a presentation on Parliament as a law making institution. Dr Alice Pollard talked about leadership in the Solomon Islands and how to combine the three pillars of traditional customs, church and modern politics.
The presentations were followed by discussions and group work focusing on how to provide good education on the parliamentary system to young Solomon Islanders.
Among the participants were representatives from the Ministry of Education, education authorities, headmasters and principals from schools and several representatives from NGOs and churches.