Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Jailing Children

I was at Cititel MidValley last evening where I was originally slated to be an evaluator for Gerard Peter. However at 05:48 PM, Moses Wong called me to ask if I would consider a ‘role reversal’ – I will deliver a speech instead and Peter will be my evaluator. Not one to miss a speaking opportunity, I took up the challenge and so did a speech (i.e. # 8: Get Comfortable with Visual Aids) titled “Blockhead” from the CC manual. I spoke with aplomb and confidence and so, I was voted the Best Project Speaker. It was interesting that Peter pointed out that the visual aids that I used were actually props – a single stalk of flower and a book of quotations. He explained that visual aids should help to increase understanding and enhance retention, but that my two items did not really do the job. I have to agree with him although the manual does allow for the use of props – as there is a line on the “Project 8” page that says “the most common visual aids are computer-based aids, overhead transparencies, flip charts, whiteboards and props”. Furthermore, my choice for a particular speech depends on factors including the time available to prepare visuals and the equipment available to you – both these factors explained why I used the said two items in the first place. Anyway, it was a good meeting and I would award it a 7 out of a 10.

BBC News on Sunday had UNICEF criticizing the UK judicial system for jailing children allegedly involved in the August 2011 lawlessness – please refer to my postings dated August 11 & 14, 2011. In fact, Britain was warned that they are likely to be in breach of their UN obligations to children’s rights. Official figures were “very worrying” because they showed that 45% of all under 18s detained on charges of rioting and looting had no previous criminal history.

But the youngsters are not marching into lock-ups just because of this particular flare-up. The Economist had cited that Britain's jails contain a higher proportion of those under 21 than any in the European Union, bar Ireland's (Setember 06, 2007). As the magazine said, punishing children needs a deft touch and that isn’t the government’s strong point.

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