Well it is the most awesome part I loved most about the trisemester.It goes by the name panel discussion. It brought out a sense of argument based on facts, diverse perspectives and opinions from the panelists and the audience.
Our topic: CHILDREN’S RIGHTS TO EDUCATION
We chose education because we (my group) unanimously agreed that education is a powerful instrument of transformation especially in this century. Personally it was my favourite since my mother is a teacher and she categorically made believe in learning. Education has fostered change and lots of development worldwide. From Uganda where I come from to Asia where my fellow panelists dwell and the rest of the areas world over. Above all education has impacted a lot on our respective communities especially to children.
We formed panel group of five members. We formed our group bringing together panelists from three different countries and therefore we expected a blend of culture and a nice presentation basing on individual and group discussion as a whole. Our group for panel discussion was as follows:
Name Sub-topic Nationality course
Biplob Hossain Government role Bangladesh Business
Ssemuddu Imran Moderator Uganda ICT
Muhammad Ali civil society activist Bangladesh ICT
Jahid Hassan UNICEF Bangladesh Business
Hamdun Muhammad Said Families Kenya ICT
After a discussing among ourselves we presented forward some topics before we agreed to talk about children’s rights to education. Some other topics that were suggested included; role of UN towards Human Rights, women Empowerment issue, poverty, among other topics.
Education is the defined as the permanent change as a result of society learning to accomplish set goals. Among all the topics we chose to discuss education it is one of the current issues and ever will be as it has been since days of Adam and Eve. In this topic we wanted to bring out the perspective of this education as a very important right to children and the effects on this generation. We wanted to brain storm education in various angles and internally interact how we feel about children’s right to education as we individual see it, thus we had several sectors of society such as UNICEF, families, civil societies and government.
The roles chosen:
I (Imran) was chosen as the moderator for the discussions not because I have so much experience in it but because no one among us has ever tried it before so we voted and we all agreed I will be the moderator.Biplob Hossain was to look at the government role in the education system. Then Hamdun as someone who will discuss from a families (parents) point of view and next in line was Muhammad Ali as civil society activist and last but not least Jahid speaking from a perspective of UNICEF. Everyone was pretty satisfied with the role chosen. We found out that there are points of agreement, disagreement and as well as resolutions.
Pre panel process
The group was formed with no bias or any factor but on objective reasons as far as children’s rights to education is concerned. We discussed on the whole issue and came up with some facts from the internet. We helped each other to find arguments based on the sub topics as seen above. We assigned different sub topics to the four panelists. We also did a brief rehearsal on our topic before we presented. We also opened up a chat in Facebook where we shared ideas and articles as well as information and various subtopics as assigned. We really showed effort though at times since I was from the school ICT I had an exam to do days way from the day of panel discussion but I fixed time to rehearse with the group.
As the moderator, I started on with interacting with the audience, gave them salutations and informed them about the gist of the issue to be discussed. Well carefully chose the arrangement of my panelists and I kicked on with a view from the government as far as education is concerned. I tossed the question to Mr.Hamdun on what are the roles of families or parents in children’s rights to education? He thinks families should directly have an inclusive role towards their children in education, funding should be paramount as well as implementing the quality of education they receive. He responded well and gave statistics and examples in his own country (Kenya) and gave his views on the whole issue. I went on to ask him to give recommendations which he argued that the government should support girl child education, invest and implement suitable policies to cater to the youths who graduate each year. He presented his arguments and recommendations nicely basing on facts he had gathered from various articles she had got from the internet. He was fluent in his presentation and very persuasive.
As the moderator, I had to link it to the second panelist, Mr. Muhammad Ali who was to talk about roles played by civil societies in regard to the topic. He explained the role of the civil society organizations and what exactly they want to achieve. He clearly explained that the main objective to work as a team though quality and ensuring respect of human rights. However, CSOs face many challenges and barriers on certain issues like society having high expectations. Sometimes it can be funny but true in one way or the other. He also had some valid argument of his own opinion that there several activities do good work. I had to come in and ask him another question whereby I asked him if families and government form a barrier to their activities. He zealously attempted the question and gave his opinions stating the need to revise how governments treat NGO’s. He also argued that schools of high learning should collaborate with families and governments.Yeah as a moderator I had to give that thumps up.
We also heard from Mr.Jahid who was representing UNICEF. He responded by pointing out the roles of UNICEF, its background and what they have been doing. The organization supports and does its best but what we can say is that they are not doing enough to find a resolution the problem of children being abused, denied their rights sometimes by their own parents and governments are not so vigilant enough. Mr.Jahid also elaborated on the challenges and gave strategies of how to overcome these barriers ranging from social, economic, cultural and geographical.
Lastly, Mr.Biplob was representing the government and therefore he played the role analyzing the issue. He presented his heartfelt opinions expressing roles (governments) towards children and education generally and disagreements between government and other sectors of society especially as far as education is concerned. Here there was a heated discussion and many questions were raised on whether what he said was right. I had to come in to intervene. Well, according to what we are seeing is the government puts barriers sometimes in the struggle to keep children in school because of some factors being out of control in many cases. Mr.Biplob was well composed and portrayed a good picture of the role he acquired.
As a moderator, I was very aware of the time taken by each panelist to present his/ her arguments on their respective subtopics. What I say is that our group did the best to keep time. We finished our presentation within 25 minutes and we threw the discussion wide open to the floor and here is where it took a bit longer. The presentation was a quality and I was very much pleased especially by the fact that our group panelists were using facts to present their argument. Many were using different articles talking about education and their own experiences. I t was a nice experience being the moderator although it was my first time but I learnt a lot from it.
The questions from the floor took about roughly ten minutes and were responded respond to with reflection of what the panelists had said during the discussion. One of the question was asked by Morktar, he addressed to the families/parents representative as to why families have played a minor role? Well, it is a valid question and a really difficult one. According to Mr.Hamdun’s opinion, he justified bringing together many ideas and fostering globalization and ethics has ruined todays parenting. For instance, government policies, internet. Secondly, Mohammad Ali had to give his view which was also good. Another question came from Abdul Rahman who doubted organizations like UNICEF I calmly told him it’s all about everybody working his own duty. Biplob as a government answered questions well as well as Ali (civil society activist).
The question remains whether the children’s rights to education is ideal for everybody in society or not? My take is, as long as the different sectors of communities such as families, governments, civil societies and organizations like UNICEF should work together then the story will change. Change is upon us, the academic structures need to be addressed, the societal benefits by building a good foundation for children.
All I can say is that (reflection), the panel discussion was a nice experience and a really good chance to share our opinions on what is going on around the world especially brainstorming the topic of children’s rights to education. We learnt a great deal of team work, commitment as well as enriching our knowledge. It is a simple class set up but I can say that I felt like I am involved in the whole education system issue, I wish our voices could be heard. I thank Allah for being part of this noble undertaking and being one of the beneficiaries. I feel I am blessed to be here and this subject of introduction to civil society has given me too much to understand what exactly the world is missing. It was a nice experience and truly a really great idea introducing this subject, am proud that forever I will never remain as I was before because I have learnt lots of things from my friends, to our lectures, oh I had the chance of interacting with someone influential visitors especially Zimbabwe and Dr.Ismail from India!
2. Children’s Agency and Educational Norms: http://chd.sagepub.com/content/13/1/127.short