At the age of 16, it is legal to get married and fight for your country. Should young people be involved in crucial decisions such as the referendum on Scottish devolution, sitting on interview panels at schools, sex education and 'democracy in the home'? Have your say!
Absolutely! If they're passionate enough to get up and give their opinion then surely that should be encouraged. Getting younger people involved and giving them ownership is an excellent way of getting rid of the horrible apathy that exists among some young folk.
I agree with you to a pont, it is vital to make young people feel invested in the society which they are part of. However as a teacher, I would feel very nervous being interviewed by someone forty years younger than me!
I think its great that the age barriers which were so obvious when I grew up are now much less apparent I some ways. I think the anonymity of the internet helps sometimes especially when shared interests are non age specific. I do envy the energy of younger people and think they must be encouraged to reach for the sky. No-one ever told me about any barriers or restrictions when I was growing up, so I didn't see any, even when I was one woman working with 100 men.
You must have been raised in a rarified atmmosphere, Giiny- when I was growing up, I was deifinitely encouraged to have a career in the 'softer' professions and where maternity leave and school holidays would be easier....you guessed it, I became a teacher!
If they are to be involved, then they need to know how to evaluate the situation and work out the best way forward. I don't think all sixteen year olds are ready to make decisions which will affect other people's lives, but there are a lot of adults too who are not yet grown-up enough.
How to involve them and help them develop the necessary reasoning power without being patronising or over-influencing them? I don't know.
I applaud those schools which have debating societies as a means to help students develop their ideas and become confident enough to stand up and present reasoned arguments. And many schools have a school council where students of any age can be pupil representatives. I know that many counties also have Young Parliaments, and young people are voted into the parliament by their peers. What a good way of making the young voice heard!
I'm a trustee of an arts charity and we have two under 18s on our board who play a full role in all decision making around the governance of our arts venue we have.