Plan with exercises for different classes ready

In the coming weeks, the little one in your house might surprise you saying she got to vote in school and ‘elect' the Chief Minister.

Several schools under the purview of the School Education Department will have “mock polls” in the classroom to give students an idea of how an election is held. This is among the series of activities the Department will take up to spread awareness of the Assembly Elections among students.

The Election Commission has approached different departments to raise awareness levels among households as part of the measures to ensure that all eligible persons vote.

Additional Chief Electoral Officer P. Amudha said: “We have roped in all the departments that have a field presence, such as School and Higher education, Information and Public Relations, Social Welfare and Rural Development.”

Urban voters

A survey carried out by the Election Commission showed that Chennai was among the districts with lowest voter turnout. “The State average is about 73 per cent, but only about 65 per cent of eligible voters in Chennai voted the last time,” Ms. Amudha said.

Also, about 40 per cent of the non-voters were in the age group 18-34. “That's why we thought approaching their school going children might help. The focus is on urban youth,” she added.

School Education Department sources said a plan with details on different exercises for different classes has been prepared. The work has been divided among different wings of the Department.

To start with the Directorate of Elementary Education will have to ensure that heads of all primary and middle schools address students during the morning assembly everyday, urging them to ask their parents to vote without fail.

Awareness rallies

The Directorate of School Education will coordinate with all the high and higher secondary schools under its purview, encouraging volunteers of the NSS units across 1,942 schools to organise awareness rallies, highlighting the importance of exercising one's franchise.

Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan wing will have its teachers and teacher-trainers organise demonstrations in schools, to explain different aspects of the elections, including polling booth, EVMs, voters' list, process of casting and counting votes.

Role of libraries

The Directorate of Public Libraries will have posters with awareness messages put up in all its libraries. Meetings will be held for members of its readers' circles to have discussions on the elections.

Directors of school and collegiate education will also have to get in touch with the Sports Development Authority of Tamilnadu and organise “election marathons”.

The Election Commission has also circulated a form. Students will have to enter the name of every member of their family who voted, get their signatures and return the forms in schools.

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Meera SrinivasanJune 28, 2012

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