Government ask schools to inspire individuality

Jennifer Keegan

Image Credit: Houses of the Oireachtas

The Minister for Children and Youth Affairs, Katherine Zappone, and the Comhairle na nÓg National Executive have launched a new campaign for celebrating individuality in secondary school called #TeachMeAsMe.

The social media campaign launched on October 7 and aims to start a conversation about the importance of embracing one’s own individuality and respecting the individuality of others.

The campaign is a result of Dáil na nÓg 2017 when young people from across Ireland discussed the need for second level schools to promote individuality in a bid to improve equality in schools. The launch was attended by teachers and principals from different secondary schools as well as some government staff.

At the launch, Minister Zappone wore a baseball hat to demonstrate her individuality. She said that she believes, ‘The most important aspect of listening to young people is ensuring that their voices are heard, taken seriously and, most importantly, that young people feel that positive sense of equality and individuality in schools. #TeachMeAsMe aims to do just that.’

According to Minister Zappone, she wants schools to be inspired to improve their stance on individuality by highlighting all the positive examples of how schools can support students embrace their individuality.

Equality was voted the most pressing topic by Dáil na nÓg in 2017. Dáil na nÓg is an annual meeting held by Comhairle na nÓg and is made up of young people from across Ireland. It is a platform for young people to discuss what can be done to improve or change life for young people in Ireland.

In 2017 they found that secondary schools need to do more to encourage students to be more comfortable with what makes them unique. They discussed how teaching young people to embrace what makes them different and accepting others for their differences will lead to a happier and a more equally minded society, both in school and outside.

Comhairle na nÓg posted a series a videos made by young campaigners demonstrating their individuality with personal anecdotes and explaining why promoting this campaign will help to make the school environment more equal and therefore better for learning.

Students are encouraged to enter a competition where they have to submit a one minute video or photograph individually or in groups to win a prize of up to €250. They must show how their school is celebrating their distinctiveness and promoting equality in their day-to-day school life. The competition is open until November 8th.

Jennifer Keegan 

Image Credit: Houses of the Oireachtas