15 March 2012
Child Reporters and News Day
Something unusual caught my attention on the news - Sir Mervyn King, the Governor of the Bank of England, being questioned by a group of high school students! This is part of the BBC News School Report Project, which is open to 11 - 16 year olds. Schools register to take part and teachers can make use of resources on the site. It all culminates in a News Day today, where the children at each school have to make their news reports, to be uploaded by 4 pm.
I caught the full report with Sir Mervyn King on the radio. Before they went into his office, the pupils were saying how they had noticed how the prices of bus tickets and cookies had gone up (but the amount of pocket money they received had not!). They are seeing the effects of the economic crisis and would have the chance to interview someone in a good position to answer their concerns.
The pupils asked questions about issues that impacted them, such as why they will have to pay high prices for tuition fees, when university education was free in the past. They were also curious about other things, such as whether Sir Mervyn King wanted to have a career in banking when he was their age (he didn't) and how he feels about earning so much money when "there are so many people who have gone from having enough, to not being able to pay their bills." I think Sir Mervyn King answered the questions very openly. His answers are on the video on the School Report Project's site.
I have been pretty focused on child and youth participation issues myself recently, in the run up to the Rio+20 Conference, as part of the UN CSD Major Group for Children and Youth. The other volunteers and I working on this, know that it is so important for young people to engage with issues that affect them, and for everyone to hear their voices.
BBC News School Report gives pupils a chance to engage with the news and report on the issues they are concerned with. It is great that a group of School Reporters had the opportunity to interview someone like Sir Mervyn King, and other people in high positions. The project also brings the children's voices to a wider audience, so that more people can pay attention to what the pupils have to say.
It is also good that the children develop their journalistic skills, and can get a taste of what making the news is like. I wish all the pupils taking part in this lots of luck with the project and with meeting their deadline later today!
For schools that want to take part in the project in 2012-13, all the details are here.