In a bid to address voter apathy among young Indians, the National Council of Educational Research and Training (NCERT) is set to introduce electoral literacy content in textbooks and advising State Education Boards to follow suit. The focus is on engaging young urban voters, as a significant portion of the electorate abstained from voting in the 2019 General Election.
Expanding Electoral Education in Partnership with Election Commission of India
This initiative is part of a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) signed between the Election Commission of India (ECI) and the Education Ministry, with the aim of extending the Systematic Voters’ Education and Electoral Participation (SVEEP) program in schools and colleges.
A New Chapter in Education: Integrating Electoral Literacy
The integration of electoral literacy content into textbooks will begin with classes 6 to 12 in all schools. This curriculum will also extend to colleges and universities, ensuring that students from various disciplines receive appropriate electoral education.
The credits earned in this regard will contribute to the overall educational experience. By introducing electoral literacy in schools and higher education institutions, the initiative aims to instill a sense of responsibility and awareness about the electoral process among the youth.
The Power of Collaboration: ECI and Education Ministry Join Hands
This MoU highlights a commitment to tackle the issue of voter apathy, especially among young, urban Indians. It is essential to address the concerns of nearly 297 million electors who chose not to cast their votes in the 2019 General Election.
The MoU outlines a long-term vision to instill electoral literacy among young people through the education system, ultimately leading to increased electoral participation in future general elections.
Empowering Educators: Orientation and Training of Teachers
One crucial aspect of this initiative is the training and orientation of teachers to effectively impart electoral literacy in classrooms.
Teachers play a pivotal role in shaping the attitudes and awareness of students. Therefore, equipping them with the necessary knowledge and resources to teach electoral literacy is a cornerstone of this program.
Electoral Literacy Clubs (ELCs) for Student Engagement
To encourage active participation and discussions on electoral issues, the MoU also proposes the establishment of Electoral Literacy Clubs (ELCs) in schools and colleges.
These clubs will provide a platform for students to engage with electoral topics, share their perspectives, and foster a culture of electoral awareness.
A Step Towards Youth Empowerment: Voter ID Cards for Students
The MoU envisions a robust mechanism to fulfill the aspirational goal of the ECI – to provide voter ID cards to every student immediately after they turn 18.
By ensuring that young adults have easy access to voter registration, this initiative aims to make the transition into active citizenship smoother and more accessible.
Expanding Horizons: Electoral Literacy Beyond Schools
This initiative doesn’t stop at schools and colleges; it also includes the inclusion of an electoral literacy section in the curriculum for adult literacy and basic education. Furthermore, it designates one room in every senior secondary school as the ‘Democracy Room.’
These rooms will serve as hubs for the regular display of voter education materials and the conduct of Continuous Electoral and Democracy Education (CEDE) activities throughout the year. This ensures that electoral education remains a constant part of the educational experience.