MoEYS – NP, and UNICEF select new students for the members of Youth Parliament in 2023

MoEYS – NP, and UNICEF select new students for the members of Youth Parliament  in  2023

Member of Youth Parliament/Photo Tatoli

DILI, 28 march 2023 ( TATOLI)– The Ministry of Education, Youth and Sports ( MoEYS) together with National Parliament (NP) and United Nations International Children ‘s Fund (UNICEF) today held the selection toward the students of Senior High School to become the member of Youth Parliament in 2023.

The Minister of Education, Youth, and Sports, Armindo Maia, said, National Parliament wishes to prepare the Timorese youth to become the future leader to continue the works of the old leader continue to maintain the National development in Timor – Leste.

“MoEYS has a great responsibility to the young students in Timor – Leste, over 300,000 youth are studying in senior high school, thus the National Parliament wishes to work together with MoEYS and UNICEF to hold the national selection toward the students of senior high school to become the member of Youth Parliament in 2023,” the Minister of Education, Armindo Maia told TATOLI in the office of INFORDEPE, Balide, Dili on tuesday.

The Deputy of Secretary General of the National Parliament, João Rui Amaral, explained, the establishment of Youth Parliamentary was based on the resolution of the National Parliament’s decree No 23 / 2017, through this fundamental law, the Program of Youth Parliament was established in 2019, aiming to prepare the youth to become the future leader in replacing the old generation to create the law, discuss the law and then implemented base on the National’s Interest. 

“We have formed the first Youth Parliamentary since 2019 with 30 members only, and it is conducted every year, therefore we just continue the second phase of Youth Parliament in 2023,” he said.

Amaral, added the Theme which will be debated by Youth Parliamentary in 2023 is Child Labor thus ” We work together with MoYES with the technical assistance of UNICEF to select the Youth Parliament through the MoYES, and we have agreed to choose three students from each municipality as the representative of National Youths Parliament, therefore we will choose 42 students to open the 2023 ‘s plenary on 27 -28 April in debating the Child Labor during 2 days and then will submit the recommendation to the National Parliament and also the Government to considered in the future,” he said.

At the same place, Bilal Durrani, Representative, UNICEF Timor-Leste also considered The Youth Parliament Program for students very important. 

” I am pleased to note that the theme for this year is on Child Labor, an important issue that affects the realization of several rights for children,”

According to the 2016 National Child Labour Survey: In Timor-Leste, 67,688 children aged 5 to 17 years, or 16% of this age group, are engaged in some form of economic activity. 

Of these, 52,651 children are classified as engaging in child labor. The prevalence of child labor differs by age: it affects 10% of children aged 5 to 12 years, 21% of 13- to 14-year-olds, and 14% of 15- to 17-year-olds.

According to a study from 2016, among children engaged in child labor, 29,195 children engaged in hazardous work.

Hazardous work is particularly detrimental to children’s mental and physical health and affects their development and education.

Some may see child labor as a tradition, as a way for children to learn, and as a positive contribution to the needs of the family.

“But let me make it clear: child labor is not harmless. Child labor deprives children of their childhood and their future. Unlike activities that help a child to develop, such as contributing to housework for a few hours a week or taking on a job during school holidays, child labor interferes with schooling and is harmful to a child’s physical, mental, and social development” he said.

While this national child labor survey is outdated, perhaps some of this data is still relevant. 

He added UNICEF promotes an integrated approach to eliminating child labor. This includes providing access to quality education, by removing the various costs of education for families. 

“I am very happy to see that today we have 100 students from different secondary schools and vocational schools in Dili to participate in the event in preparation for activity in the National Parliament on 27-28 April 2023. I understand that participants in today’s event will compete with other students from different municipalities in the final event on 27-28 April at the National Parliament and they will debate on this critical issue,”

He highlighted as future leaders and potentially future Parliamentarians, it is essential that have to understand these issues that affect many children of school-going age. As young people can also play a vital and influential role in the societal transformation to address issues such as the elimination of child labor. 

“I wish you fruitful and engaging discussions on this issue. In conclusion, on behalf of UNICEF, I thanked the Minister of Education Youth and Sport, Armindo Maia for your leadership in providing such opportunities to young students and also to extend my appreciation to the National Parliament for initiating this interesting opportunity for our young students to engage in such critical discussion, to be active citizens and problem-solvers,”.

Durani also stated that UNICEF is committed to supporting the Government to eliminate the worst forms of child labor in Timor-Leste. “Together, we can make a difference and help children reclaim their childhood and enjoy their education” he concluded.

The program of Youth Parliamentarian can be realized with a supporting budget worth $ 10 million from the National Parliament.



Journalist : Camilio de Sousa 

Editor: Nelia B.


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