There should be less activism in schools. This is the view of our Prime Minister Scott Morrison.
Earlier this week he was quizzed in parliament over whether he supported the School Strike 4 Climate Action.
Students from around Australia will go on strike on Friday in a bid to have their voice heard on climate change.
He said children should be in class rather than protesting about things that could be “dealt with outside of school”.
“Each day I send my kids to school and I know other members’ kids should also go to school but we do not support our schools being turned into parliament,” he said.
“What we want is more learning in schools and less activism in schools.”
This comment could be interpreted as teachers making an impression on the students or just for students to be seen, but not heard.
Regardless of how the comment is interpreted, it is a narrow-minded view. To assume teenagers do not want or not entitled to have a voice on issues that would impact their future.
Tiananmen Square in 1989 is a poignant example of youth exercising a public protest in the efforts to improve their future.
At the site translated as “gate of heavenly peace” the students mourned the death of Hu Yaobang who had worked to move China into a more democratic political system. He was the symbol of democratic reform.
The results were disastrous and fatal. Their collective voice was a threat. Enough for martial law to be imposed and for troops to fire at students and civilians to end the demonstrations.
There are many more examples of students and youth being the catalyst of change or raising different points of view.
Youth need an outlet to represent their ideas and needs. Yet in 2013, Tony Abbott removed the Youth Minister.
It’s important that this generation is heard on everything from education to health, environment to law and finance to security.
Yes, school is important. But it’s also necessary to foster a generation that is engaged with politics regardless of political affiliation or policies.