Life-chang­ing trip for Achar­a­cle young­sters

The Oban Times - - News -

ACHAR­A­CLE Pri­mary School pupils have been on a life- chang­ing trip to learn the power of ne­go­ti­a­tion.

Sean MacLen­nan, Jonathan Ew­ers and Fa­bi­enne Manasseh, all aged 11, trav­elled to Rome to de­bate in the Mon­te­sorri Model United Na­tions con­fer­ence, a pro­gramme de­signed to teach young­sters the im­por­tance of ac­cept­ing dif­fer­ences at a young age.

The pupils spent three days in the Ital­ian cap­i­tal rep­re­sent­ing Ghana, their cho­sen coun­try, lis­ten­ing to their peers and put­ting for­ward their ar­gu­ments

Lind­say Bradley, associated schools head teacher of Achar­a­cle, Ard­gour and Kil­choan pri­maries, ex­plained: ‘As part of the pro­gramme, you can­not de­bate on be­half of your own coun­try but study­ing Ghana was re­ally in­ter­est­ing for them. They worked for weeks do­ing their re­search, find­ing out the main prob­lems af­fect­ing Ghana such as forced labour, child labour, food waste – re­ally hard hit­ting top­ics.

‘Then they de­vised plans on how these prob­lems could be best tack­led and put to­gether their ar­gu­ments.

‘At the con­fer­ence there were chil­dren from Thai­land, Oslo, Zurich, Canada and many more so it was multi- cul­tural in ev­ery sense. We were the only school from Scot­land which made us very proud and dur­ing the cul­tural ex­change even­ing the pupils dressed in kilts.

Through the pro­gramme the young­sters were given the op­por­tu­nity to learn and re­spect other cul­tures, they learned about the rules of pro­ce­dure and for­mal­i­ties when it comes to de­bat­ing so these are real life lessons that they will carry with them.’

Dur­ing their stay, the pupils stayed in the Vat­i­can City and af­ter keep­ing a tight sched­ule dur­ing the con­fer­ence, they were able to soak up the sights be­fore re­turn­ing to Scot­land.

Ms Bradley added: ‘The chil­dren worked re­lent­lessly dur­ing the con­fer­ence, wak­ing up at 7.30am and only re­ally had an hour here or there for breaks - but they loved it. They were re­ally ded­i­cated and the amount of ef­fort they put in was tremen­dous. The fi­nal de­bate was in the United Na­tions build­ing so they had to leave Italy es­sen­tially and go through se­cu­rity. I am sure none of the pupils will for­get this ex­pe­ri­ence in a hurry. Some of the par­ents stayed for the week­end af­ter the con­fer­ence and do the tourist things, so it was nice that ev­ery­one’s hard work was re­warded.’

The chil­dren wore kilts to the cul­tural ex­change even­ing.

Pupils were taught the for­mal­i­ties and im­por­tance of ne­go­ti­a­tion and de­bate.

Pupils chose to rep­re­sent Ghana at the con­fer­ence.

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