Students show a great interest in the opportunity to learn about the professional life of MPs and staff members of the Saeima. On Wednesday, 15 February, the Saeima hosted 280 shadows and thus became one of the most popular hosts of shadows in the state.
On Job Shadow Day, eager youths from all parts of Latvia came to the Saeima. Students had gotten up early and travelled a long way from Daugavpils, Aglona, Rēzekne, Saldus and other cities in order to get acquainted with the daily routine of the parliament. The greatest interest in becoming someone’s shadow was expressed by secondary-school students; however, there were also younger students among the shadows. The youngest shadow was 10-year-old Paula from the Kuldīga Centre Secondary School who shadowed Inga Bite, Deputy Speaker of the Saeima.
Today, the majority of MPs were accompanied by several shadows. Ivans Klementjevas had the largest number of shadows, namely 11. Romāns Naudiņš, Valdis Zatlers, Edvards Smiltēns, Ingmārs Līdaka and some other MPs also had many shadows. Solvita Āboltiņa, Speaker of the Saeima, was shadowed by four students from Madona State Gymnasium, Talsi State Gymnasium, Riga State Gymnasium No. 1 and Riga Stradiņš University.
Those who had decided to be shadows at the Saeima had an opportunity to see daily life at the parliament – to be present at the committee and parliamentary group meetings. In the Plenary Chamber, Speaker Solvita Āboltiņa addressed the participants of Job Shadow Day. She explained the legislative procedure, which also includes discussions held in committees and consultations with relevant stakeholders.
Aboltiņa said: “A state and democracy are a great value which allows us to express ourselves freely and to participate in the decision-making process.” She pointed out that “there are more than 5,000 peoples around the world; however, only 200 of them have their own state”. She also invited the shadows to take part in the Youth Parliament in order to learn about the decision-making process in a democratic state through personal experience. This year the Youth Parliament is scheduled to take place on 27 April.
The main reason why students wanted to become shadows of MPs and staff members of the Saeima was their interest in politics; they also recognized that this is a unique opportunity to see how policy is shaped. Young people observed the meeting of the Speaker with the Ambassador of Austria with great interest, and thus gained insight into one of the functions of the parliament, namely representation of the state.
Participants of Job Shadow Day had a rare opportunity not only to get inside the Plenary Chamber but also to sit in the MPs’ seats. Young people also had a chance to see representation rooms of the parliament.
Throughout the day, students could take a quiz on the functions and history of the Saeima. Shadows also took copies of the questionnaire home in order to check the erudition of their relatives and friends.
This is the fourth time that the Saeima has taken part in Job Shadow Day. On Job Shadow Day in 2009, the Saeima was visited by more than 120 young people; in 2010 this number exceeded 200; but in 2011, it exceeded 360. In 2009, the Saeima was recognised as one of the best shadow hosts.
Photos from Job Shadow Day in the Saeima:
Video from Job Shadow Day in the Saeima: https://www.youtube.com/saeimasab#p/a/u/0/oLs-98HdtjA, https://www.youtube.com/saeimaSAB#p/a/u/0/kmq_g8s7pbc
When using the material, please give credit to the Saeima Chancellery.
Saeima Press Service