“The PM has a budget for the nation. Why don’t we have a budget for the school?” – Bal Sansad Student, MS Dalsinghsarai, Samastipur District, Bihar
With non-cognitive skills such as critical reasoning and the ability to engage in meaningful debates becoming ever-more important in a fast changing job market, enabling young people to articulate questions such as these is crucial.
The idea of Bal Sansad (or ‘Child Parliaments’) within government elementary schools is not new. A model United Nations program has been running internationally since the mid twentieth century, while the Indian government first proposed the idea of Child Parliaments almost twenty years ago. In practice, its implementation has been sporadic and inconsistent. In Bihar, where Quest Alliance run the Anandshala program in the Samastipur district, interventions to enliven the Bal Sansad Child Parliaments date back to 2012.