The Bengal school education department has decided to start electoral literacy clubs in schools to sensitise students about their voting rights and familiarize them with the entire voting process and how to participate in elections.
The move comes in the backdrop of a directive to this effect from the Election Commission of India, a source in the school education department said.
According to the source every student studying in Classes IX to XII must be a member and regularly participate in the activities of the club.
According to a circular issued by the additional district magistrate of North 24 Parganas district: “An Electoral Literacy Club (ELC) is a platform to engage school students through different activities with hands-on experience to sensitise them on their electoral rights and familiarize them with the electoral process of registration and voting. Strengthening the culture of electoral participation among young and future voters is the aim of ELC.”
The formation of the club has started with North 24 Parganas district but the schools in every district will have to be a member of the club, the source said.
After the formation of the clubs, the schools have been asked to carry out different activities through rally, quiz contest, sports, drawing competition, drama and street plays.
” …. You are requested to instruct and guide all Headmasters/Headmistresses of Higher Secondary Schools suitably having respective jurisdiction to form Electoral Literacy Club (ELC) amongst the students from Class IX – XII; 14 to 17 year olds to the target of becoming an
Empowered ( Prospective) Voter….,” the circular read.
The schools have been asked to share the “thought-provoking” activities of the clubs along with a small write – up and a video clip with the district magistrate within the end of this month.
Every school will have to select a nodal teacher who will have to send reports to the district magistrate on the activities of the club.
Several schools said they welcomed the move but cannot provide the details of the activities of the club within the deadline set by the government.
“We welcome the move as the aim of the club is to help young voters understand the value of their vote and to ensure that they exercise their right to vote and participate in the election with confidence and in ethical manner. But it is difficult for us to start the activities of the club within the deadline given to us. Our school has just reopened after the long Puja holidays. We need to complete the syllabus first as annual examinations will take place within a month,” the headmaster of a school said.