Even as NGOs, Bollywood stars and politicians are trying their best to inspire youngsters to exercise their franchise this time, the work on engineering responsible first time voters for the next elections has already started.
A few schools in the Capital have assumed the responsibility of providing the right orientation to students who will be eligible to elect their leaders by next election. And they are attempting to achieve this through specials workshops, talks and project work for students of Classes XI and XII.
So while Springdales School, Pusa Road, recently concluded a week-long workshop focusing on politics and elections with students of XI and XII, the principals of Modern School, Barakhamba, and Delhi Public School, RK Puram, are personally educating the 16-17 year olds on “their duties as responsible citizens” and also discussing some of the raging concerns and issues of current polls.
“We have about 2,000 students studying in classes XI and XII and they will be eligible to participate in the largest democratic exercise five years down the line. When their time comes, we want this huge lot of 2,000 to prove themselves to be strong and informed voters. We are trying to kick start that process by providing a good foundation,” said Shyama Chona, principal, DPS, RK Puram.
Lata Vaidyanathan, Principal, Modern School, Barakhamba, is taking special classes every Tuesday and Thursday to discuss everything that is happening during the current elections.
“I’ll keep taking these classes till the polls end. Till now, we have spoken on issues such as ‘should there be an age limit to contest elections’ and especially those topics that are taken up by news channels during their special programmes.
The XI and XII students have also been assigned projects based on issues of election and politics,” said Vaidyanathan.
Though some may doubt the timing of the initiative or even tag it as premature, school principals feel this is the best time for students to gain a first hand experience of the largest democratic exercise.
“It’s best to answer all their queries and questions and provide the right orientation as they witness the dance of democracy,” said Ameeta Wattal, principal, Springdales School, Pusa Road.
Students, too, don’t seem to mind the special classes being taken. “It’s not as if we are being indoctrinated. No one is trying to exercise any kind of pressure on us. In fact, it’s fun,” said Prateek Nagpal, a Class XI student of DPS, RK Puram.