Law project aimed at young up for global award

Law project aimed at young up for global award

A year-old, home-grown programme to educate young people about the law is in the running for an international award.

The pro bono initiative Project Schools is among the nominees in the Innovative Idea category of the Hague Institute for the Internationalisation of Law's Innovating Justice award.

The programme is up against at least 15 other projects from countries such as Sri Lanka and Israel.

The award from the international research institute in the legal capital of the world recognises promising or successful new ideas in the justice field globally. Winners, which are chosen through worldwide public voting and by a panel, will receive €50,000 (S$84,500) to develop their programmes further.

The Law Society, which is behind the project, said the nomination meant a great deal as the initiative "involved many groups of people for the purpose of bringing law awareness to the community".

Project Schools was launched in July last year to teach secondary school students about the law, such as how laws are made and criminal laws relating to issues such as cyber offences and illegal moneylending. It has since reached nearly 12,500 students from 27 schools.

Volunteer lawyers hold workshops for teachers, who then use materials such as video clips to get classroom discussions going. For instance, during a session at St Patrick's School earlier this month, one Secondary 2 class watched a video clip of how two young people ended up on the wrong side of the law when they befriended gang members. Using the stories, two teachers led their students in analysing the motives of people who join gangs.

In groups, the students came up with reasons for not joining gangs.

They were also given scenarios to test their understanding of illegal assembly or rioting. Student Matthew Durai, 14, said the video made the lesson more engaging. 

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