Sunderland youth MPs off to Parliament

Two members of Sunderland Youth Parliament Ghazaleh Habibifar (left) and Jack Stoker about to leave Sunderlandon Thursday, bound for the House of Commons in London.
Two members of Sunderland Youth Parliament Ghazaleh Habibifar (left) and Jack Stoker about to leave Sunderlandon Thursday, bound for the House of Commons in London.
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YOUNG Parliamentarians have travelled from Sunderland to help debate youth issues in the Houses of Parliament today.

Jack Stoker and Ghazaleh Habibfar won last year’s local election to represent the views of the city’s teens.

The pair believe the Government is failing young people in education.

Ghazaleh, 17, student at St Robert of Newminster Catholic School, said: “It’s not about regurgitating text books in exams, but actually being able to apply that knowledge in education and in life.

“If we were to work as a nation –and the Government would actually notice us – then it’s achievable.

“Young people don’t have a voice, and when they do express their opinions, not much is done.

“We are the future, so we should get a say in what happens in the future.”

After debate, broadcast live on BBC Parliament, MYPs will vote on which two issues will become central to their national 2014 campaign.

Jack Stoker, 17, student at Castle View Enterprise Academy, also believes the “curriculum for life” topic is the most important.

He added: “My big concern is because we’ve worked so hard on it and had disappointments, people won’t want to do it.

“We gathered evidence, we tried and tried, but nothing was done for academies and schools.

“It’s always difficult but it can be done. Everything gets worse before it gets better.”

The five debate issues are “a curriculum to prepare us for life”, zero tolerance towards bullying in schools, better work experience and careers advice, combating youth unemployment, and votes for 16- and 17-year-olds.

Sunderland Councillor Pat Smith, said: “The views and opinions of young people in Sunderland are very important to us.

“The Sunderland and UK Youth Parliament provide them with valuable platforms for debate and discussion.”