The Wesley International School (WIS), in the New Juaben South Municipality of the Eastern Region has introduced the national certified method of voting conducted during general elections in the election of its school perfects.
This was in collaboration with the Electoral Commission (EC).
According to the school authorities, the decision to adopt the national structure of elections in the school’s election is a strategy to help educate the children on the right way of voting to help reduce the number of spoilt ballots recorded during general public elections.
When Citi News visited the school to observe the electoral process, the spirit and euphoria surrounding school election was on full display with posters of aspirants on the school’s compound.
It was also interesting to see a certified Electoral Commission notice of poll with names of candidates and order of ballot for the positions of Boy’s and Girl’s prefects, and compound overseer fully displayed on the school’s notice board.
School children from basic 1 to JHS 3 at the Adweso SSNIT flat school in Koforidua, had queued in an orderly manner to check their names in the school’s voter’s register to take their ballot papers.
The election, which was organized in an orderly manner saw aspirants read out their manifestos to the entire students’ population after intense campaigning and lobbying for the votes of about 700 students.
Some of the students who spoke to Citi News after voting said the exercise will boost their confidence and even let them appreciate politics and elections as a whole.
Rev Osei-Danso Bosompim, headmaster of the school said the initiative will help produce responsible adults for the nation.
“We want to inculcate into the children their civic rights and responsibilities to let them appreciate the pertinent issues and information around them. For sometime now, Ghana has been suffering with the issue of spoilt ballots even in this 21st century. We want them to be responsible growing adults; we are teaching them how to vote right from now so that when they attain 18 years and are eligible to take part in the nation’s general elections, they will not add up to the spoilt ballots population, but help the country reduce it because they have had enough education on it”.
“For the 9 years they are going to spend in the basic school, we are going to teach them yearly how to thumbprint, campaign, speak publicly, write and read manifestos and gain knowledge on general elections. I believe they will appreciate what makes up governance which will help them to be disciplined and responsible in future”, he added.
The team leader of officials from the Electoral Commission, Dorcas Akoto Donkor, who welcomed the opportunity to educate the pupils, challenged other basic schools to adopt a similar approach to help eliminate the increasing problem of rejected ballots during national elections.
“The exercise has been very fruitful and exciting as we engaged them on how to thumbprint, fold the ballot paper and even drop it into the box. The motive is to help reduce the number of rejected ballots. So I will advice other basic schools to engage the Electoral Commission to adopt this system of election in their various schools. It will help them to be educated in our electoral process to reduce the number of rejected ballots. Parents should also encourage their awards to show interest in politics at an early stage for them to get the basics of politics at this stage which will help them make concrete decisions for national growth”.
Ebenezer Kwaku Addo, a headteacher who was also the Chairman of the Vetting Committee of the school expressed appreciation for the support and approval given by parents for the exercise.
“This exercise became necessary because we as a country spend a lot of money on elections. The issue of high number of rejected ballots becomes a problem to the nation, so as teachers, we sat down and came up with the decision to introduce the pupils to elections at a tender age. We spoke to management and they agreed to the initiative.”
By: Neil Nii Amatey Kanarku/citinewsroom,com/Ghana