Taking democracy to schools

Friday, April 22, 2016

Pretoria – The Independent Electoral Commission will once again be partnering with the Department of Basic Education (DBE) in its Schools Democracy Week programme to educate young people about democracy.

The Electoral Commission says empowering the young citizens of South Africa with the knowledge, skills and attitudes necessary for active citizenship and encouraging them to register and vote in elections is critical to nurturing the country’s young democracy.

The Schools Democracy Week programme will be rolled out in selected public schools throughout South Africa from 24 to 30 April 2016, encapsulating 27 April, national Freedom Day, when the nation will celebrate 22 years of electoral democracy.

This is the fourth Schools Democracy Week programme held by the Electoral Commission in partnership with the department. The first Schools Democracy Week was held in 2013.

Staff from the Electoral Commission’s Outreach Division in eight provinces will visit participating schools and lead activities which will include debates, presentations, mock elections, role play, voter registration, interactive sessions, lectures and formal lessons (KwaZulu-Natal conducted SDW already in March 2016). Over 1000 schools will participate in the April activities.

Participating schools will be supplied with materials to enhance their electoral democracy knowledge, including the not too Young booklet for General Education and Training Band (GET) and becoming a good Citizen booklet for Further Education and Training Band (FET).

Pamphlets and flyers on registration and voting are available on the Electoral Commission’s website and since 2015 the two booklets, Not too Young and Becoming a good Citizen, are also available in Braille and audio.

In addition, participating schools will be furnished with materials to set up mock voting stations with ballot boxes, voting booths and dummy ballot papers.

A social media and web campaign starts on 22 April 2016 and will be hosted on the IEC’s website: www.elections.org.za, Facebook and Twitter.

The hashtags for the campaign are #SchoolsDemocracyWeek2016 and #2016MunicipalElections. – SAnews.gov.za