UKYP to campaign for life skills in the national curriculum

By Gabriella Jozwiak

| 26 November 2012

Members of the UK Youth Parliament have voted to campaign for a youth-led overhaul of the national curriculum in 2013, during their annual sitting in the House of Commons.

Members of the UK Youth Parliament try to catch the speakers' attention during the House of Commons debate. Image:

The “curriculum for life” policy was the favourite of five options debated by the members of youth parliament (MYPs), gaining 154 votes - more than 100 clear of the second most popular proposal to campaign for an equal minimum wage for young people.

A total 307 members of youth parliament (MYPs) from across the UK attended the debate in Parliament on Friday. The “curriculum for life” motion called for a youth-led overhaul of the national curriculum, to include instruction on politics, sex and relationships education, cultural awareness, community cohesion, finance skills and sustainable living.

MYP for Wokingham Sumaiya Karim, 16, who argued in favour of the motion, said issues such as politics, relationships and finance skills must be “addressed in the curriculum on a national scale”.

“We’re given so many rights but we don’t really know how to use them, so we need to be taught that before we leave school and enter the ‘real’ world,” she said.

Karim highlighted the need for cultural awareness and community cohesion, “because we still have racial discrimination against different cultures”. “That comes from a lack of understanding, so if we had better understanding, we could address those issues,” she said.

MYP for West Sheffield, Amaka Uchegbu, 18, also supported the “curriculum for life” motion. Uchegbu said her primary concern was improving political knowledge among young people.

“I was always confused that votes at 16 kept coming up as an issue, but not the curriculum for life bit,” she said. “To be able to vote, we need to have an awareness of what goes on at the House of Commons or how the laws are made, because it affects everyone.”

The other four proposed motions were selected in a vote held earlier this year by more than 250,000 young people.

The motions suggested making public transport cheaper and more accessible, helping young people prepare for work, equal rights for all to marry and the creation of a single national minimum wage.

Uchegbu said these priorities would not be forgotten, but it is up to individual youth constituencies to decide if and how they will incorporate them alongside the national campaign objective in 2013.

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