Maximising youth voting ­­­ By: Parul Purwar

Civics Club Aim of Club

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Civics Club

Aim of Club: A voluntary club in the school system, which will promote and indulge students in activities related to Indian Politics, Judiciary, Laws and working of the Government.

Structure of the Club: The club will be formed by the help of the school authorities including teachers, principal and school Senate. The club will have a senior teacher of the school as its ‘Teacher-in-Charge’ and the club head. According to the strength of the students and teachers in school, the club will have few teachers as its members (ranging from 2 teachers to 10 teachers). The club would have a student head boy and a student head girl, from any class from 8th to 12th. The appointment of these heads would be done by the Teacher-in-Charge, in association with the school senate, after calling for nominations from students and interviewing them. The students should be encouraged to be a member of the club and take part in the activities of the club by the teachers, senate and school administration.

Support for the Club: The clubs can be started as a part of the program of the government, like a part of SVEEP program of Election commission of India or by support of ‘Department of Personnel & Training’ or by ministry of Human Resources and Development. The local NGOs, working on the political and social issues can work as partners in these clubs, helping the club with seminars, workshops and awareness programs. Also, the MP or MLA of the regions should visit the programs of these clubs and show support to these activities. It can be guided by the NSS wing of colleges near the school.

For teachers it is a wonderful opportunity to create awareness, build attitude and help students work and gain experiences in the real world. This will help teachers to meet objectives pertaining to social awareness of the students. The objectives of the group are

  1. To increase student awareness about the political scenario in India. This can be done in a multitude of ways.

  2. Organise Q & A sessions with government officials and the problems that are plaguing them.

  3.  Prepare a ‘Manifesto’ which should consist of the issues and problems in the town and hand it over to the campaigning candidates and to the elected candidates. This manifesto should represent the needs of the local public and can be used to evaluate the working of the elected representative at the end of his term.

  4.   In association with parents, alumni or Local NGOs, the club should organise sessions with government officials or businesspersons or other eminent personalities. The session should focus on :

    1. Increase the awareness about the importance of integrity, honesty and ethics in conducting business and public dealings.

    2.   Organise workshops for students to teach them about the code of conduct and compliance with laws.

    3. Inform students about the corruption scandals around the world and punishments given in those cases.

    4.  Educate students about the costs of corruption in any activity, moral wrongs of indulging in any unethical activity and the importance of the moral values in all the sectors of government and public life

    5.     Aware students of the role of Media, NGOs, Government agencies and Business personalities in eradicating corruption and ensure compliance with laws.

  5. Organising documentary sessions, followed by discussions and conclaves

  6. Take up an issue in the locality and solve it. The issue could be anything, from opened manholes to lack of green areas.

  7. Identify NGO’s and youth organisations (NSS, NYKS) working near their locality, and enlist their help in solving the said issue.

  8. Learn to use RTI and use it as a tool when dealing with uncooperative government officials and to increase the transparency of the administration.

  9. Involve the local media and social media to publicise their causes.

  10. Kick-start a “lets us vote campaign”: this campaign would involve

    1. Teaching students about the entire election process and help students above 18 to register and get a voter ID card.

    2. Emphasising the importance of voting

    3. Recognition of students who went and voted, and also those who made their family members and people they know vote.

    4. Making form 6 and 8 easily available to all students.

    5. Publicising current issues and looking at the performance of the local representatives in collaboration with the schools media body.

    6. Getting information about the candidates that are standing in the elections and using social media to ensure that this information reaches people in their constituency.

    7. Interacting with local college students and getting to know their experiences on voting.

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