Pupils quizzed on changes they want

Children's Commissioner Judge Andrew Becroft discusses youth issues with Kavanagh College pupils....
Children's Commissioner Judge Andrew Becroft discusses youth issues with Kavanagh College pupils. PHOTO: GERARD O'BRIEN
A group of pupils from Arthur Street School, Kavanagh College and Otago Girls' High School enjoyed "green eggs and ham'' and chocolate biscuits yesterday when Children's Commissioner Judge Andrew Becroft visited to hear what was important to Dunedin pupils.

He used Dr Seuss' Green Eggs and Ham book as a starting point, by discussing how the book focuses on concern for relationships and how people should not make judgements about things without trying them first.

While munching on chocolate biscuits, he then went on to ask pupils what they would change about children's lives if they had the power to do so.

The schools belong to Mai World - the Office of the Children's Commissioner's national child and youth voice project - and the pupils' answers were collected for use in the project.

Kavanagh College deputy principal Tricia James said the commissioner sent out several surveys each year, asking pupils specific questions about different issues for young people.

``It's good when the students can be honest and up front in an anonymous survey like that.

``They feel like they're helping the community - that's the driving force behind it.''

The commissioner's primary role is to advocate for all New Zealanders under 18.

Because New Zealand is a signatory to the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child, the commissioner's office also encourages other organisations to support children and young people to have a voice in matters that affect them.

Today, Judge Becroft will give a guest lecture at a University of Otago family law class which is aimed at encouraging the next generation of lawyers to think about children and young people.

john.lewis@odt.co.nz

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