Young Parliamentarians is a programme that gives teenagers in Year 9, 10 and 11 of secondary school the opportunity to debate in a nationwide competition. With the theme #ejjewniddibattitu (let’s debate), students are encouraged to learn how to debate and speak to other people in a ‘Parliamentary’ sort of way.
Prior to the actual event, the group of students chosen to represent their school are taught about Public Speaking, Debating and tips about how to be confident whenever they’re speaking. Then each School was given 4 topics, 2 of which were in favour, and 2 which we had to debate against. After weeks of preparation, with help from multiple people, including teachers, George and their team finished the notes they were using to base their arguments off of during the debate.
Once the day arrived, they were seated in a ‘Parliament of Malta’ sort of way, in which schools were put against each other. After a short speech by the hosts, the two schools competing in a particular topic had to state their names and whether they were on the Favur (in Favour) or Kontra (Against) the said subject. Then schools were given some time to lay out their proposals and argue, with each school being given 3 slots in total. Judges from different fields were both moderating the event and seeing the quality of the debating.
This time, SNC Dingli Secondary managed to make it to the finals. The finals were held at Parliament House in Valletta, where students sat in Committee rooms, and later on sat in the actual House of Representatives. Whilst George’s school did not make it past the quarter finals, the fact they passed to the finals at all was something all of the participants were proud of.
George was awarded the title ‘Best Male Speaker’, and was given a keepsake by the Speaker of the House of Representatives. Then George shook hands with MPs who are concerned with Education and Youth, and posed for a photo with them (after the Minister of Education almost dropped the glass bit of the keepsake, and the Speaker of the House managed to catch it just in time for it not to fall)