The Parliamentary Civic Department has successfully completed its education outreach program for schools in West Guadalcanal from 19th to 21st May 2015.
The program stemmed out from the fourth Parliamentary Strategic objective which is to develop the education and outreach work of Parliament and the representative role of Members of Parliament (MPs).
Presentations were based on the topics:
1. The three arms of the state and separation of powers
2. What is Parliament and why do we have a Parliament
3. Roles and Functions of Parliament
4. Law Making Process
5. Groups In Parliament and
6. Offices in Parliament
West Guadalcanal Schools that the team visited during the outreach program were Visale Community High School, Selwyn College, Aruligho SDA mission School, Tamboko High School and Marara Community High School.
The students and teachers of the schools visited have shown much interest and have asked many questions on the topics presented. Some teachers even asked questions that were not in the presentation but relatively related to the work of members of Parliament and on issues such as the MPs free tax policy.
Team leader Ms Marisa Pepa had to make clarifications on that, in which she explained that the Parliamentary Entitlements Commission that looks after the MPs entitlements is under the Prime Minister’s Office and is different from the work of the ten standing committees of the National Parliament.
The question time sessions gave opportunities to both teachers and students to answer their confusions, doubts and queries.
Some of the questions asked were on the roles of Members of Parliaments, the three different groups in Parliament and their roles, the three arms of the state as well as the departments within Parliament Office and their duties. They were very keen to learn and know more about the functions of Parliament being the Legislature.
“We now realized that Parliament makes laws, Executive government executes or interprets the laws while the Judiciary acts upon the laws.”
“Now we can make a good choice of who to represent us in parliament when our next election comes.”
“Leaders will only fulfil the motto to lead is to serve if they better perform their roles as Representatives of the people, their roles as legislators and their roles in scrutinizing legislation”.
“We have just realized the process of a bill before it becomes a law or an act of Parliament”.
The above sentiments were, but some of the many lessons the students and teachers learned after the presentations. The group activities after the presentations also further their knowledge on our Parliamentary system. They even encouraged the Civic team to continue with this outreach program in the following years, not only for schools but also for the people in the constituencies who are yet to be educated on our parliamentary system.
The turnout in Selwyn College was extra-ordinary as the School Principal had invited the whole school of about 700 students to attend compared to the other four schools who only prepared their form 3s and 5s at the Civic’s request.
The team comprised of team leader and Chief Parliamentary Civic Education Officer Ms Marisa Pepa, Alex Siama (Civic Officer), Joy Angi (Director Parliament Media), Jasmine Waleafea Navala (Committee Secretariat), Wilson Ani (Committee Secretariat), Philemon Loe (Media Officer), Timo and Lawrence Scott (Logistics Officer).
Schools in East Guadalcanal are expecting the Civic team sometime in August and following that is a constituency tour to Choiseul Province.