Children’s Parliament Sri Lanka 2023-2024, focusing on UN’s SDGs, a success

By Dr. Hemasiri Kuruppu

Schoolchildren in the age range of years 14 to 18 at the rate of two males and a female from each administrative district and 10 participants representing all communities, including marginalized groups in Sri Lanka, graced the grand occasion of the second session of the United Nations-assisted first Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) Children’s Parliament in the world, 2023 – 2024. It was ceremonially held at Lanka Ashok Leyland Factory Complex at Panagoda, Homagama on February 16 at 2 pm with the participation of several local and foreign delegates.

It was a very colourful vibrant gathering of youngsters full of vigour and spirit which was a feast to the eyes.

The ceremonial opening of the SDG Children’s Parliament 2023-2024 commenced by observing all the protocols generally followed by the Sri Lankan parliament, including solemnly swearing in of the Speaker, Prime Minister, Alternative Leader, elected with a highly commutative voting system. Parliamentarians were supposed to be of 60 political parties and all were very good speakers, spoke to the point and the majority female participants were very active and behaved very well, giving a good example to our senior parliamentarians.

Manjil Liyanaarachchi from Matara District, student of Rahula College Matara, was elected Speaker of the SDG Children’s Parliament.

He admonished the all parliamentarians to behave in a befitting manner without being an insult to parliamentary democracy, because the entire world is watching, their performance since they cannot afford to emulate their seniors in the Sri Lankan parliament.

Those senior most politicians in parliament did not get an opportunity in their day to study and enlighten themselves on the protocol, behavioural pattern and duties, since there was no mechanism whatsoever or training programs of any nature for them up to update themselves.

Speaker Manjil further said that he proposed to organize an online training school for all members.

Master Kavindu Kanishka was elected the Alternative Leader to give leadership to all parliamentarians having different views on policy matters.Minister of Quality Education Miss Elisha Frazer said that she endorsed the views expressed by the prime minister on universities and would not permit universities to be run like Montessori (Nursery schools).

She said that some teachers in government schools have become a pawn in the hands of politically motivated trade union leaders who don’t have an iota of love for children or humanity and who have a secret agenda of destroying everything that has been built at tremendous sacrifice by honourable teachers who taught in schools two decades ago.

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