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Schools get kids to coax parents to get out and vote

Sunday, 20 April 2014 - 9:10am IST | Place: Mumbai | Agency: dna

With just four days to go to polling day in the city, some schools have launched an initiative through students to convince parents to get out and vote.

"The best way to reach out to parents in through their kids," said Al-Nasser Zakaria, vice-president of the parents-teachers association (PTA) at St Stanislaus High School, Bandra. "The voter turnout in some areas of Bandra (West) has been very low in past elections. So, if parents show up at the polling stations after listening to their kids, it would be great."

The PTA has distributed 'exert poll cards' to the 2,200 students, addressed by the kids to their parents, exhorting them "to vote on April 24 for my bright future".

At Podar Jumbo Kids, a chain of pre-primary schools, teachers tell the children tales about how they should convince parents to vote.

"We use the description of how the kids pick the class or group leader through 'majority wins', to encourage their parents to also raise their hands to pick a leader for the country. We ask them to remind the parents daily and to check for the black mark on April 24," said Swati Popat Vats, president, Podar Education Network.

Shishuvan High School, Matunga, has taken a step further, using the election season to get its students to choose a school parliament. "This way the students will learn how a democracy functions," said Shubada Shenoy, principal of Shishuvan.

The students, teachers and other staff members vote through a ballot, or email and even WhatsApp, for the contestants. School alumni conduct the poll process, complete with inking the finger and counting the votes.

"The elected representatives will take charge of their portfolios and would be involved in the decision-making process with respect to day-to-day activities," Shenoy said.

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