JAGATSINGHPUR: It is hard for parents to say no to their children. Keeping this belief in mind, Bhubaneswar-based Kinder Garden Pre-School and Day Care Centre has come up with an innovative programme to motivate school children in the district to convince their parents and first-time voters to vote in the ensuing polls.
Founder of the institution, Monalisha Mohapatra said the school has conducted marathons and rallies in which students from Shree Lokanath Baniniketan, Indramani UP School, Arana High School, Siuli UP School, Patuari UP School, Kosal UP School and Maligaon UP School participated in large numbers.
“This is not about promoting any candidate or political party. We just want to increase the voting percentage in the rural areas of the district,” Monalisha said.
The initiative seems to be yielding positive results. Amiyaranjan Behera, a student of Class IX said since his father is a Government servant, he has not been able to cast his vote on several occasions in the past. “I have decided to call my father or send him an SMS to remind him to vote in the upcoming polls,” he said.
Basant Sahoo, a daily wager from Arana village said he had forgotten about the polling date. “But my daughter Kaberi has instructed me to go to vote on April 29 before moving to work,” he said.
President of the school management committee of Shree Lokanath Baniniketan, Pradipta Chaudhry lauded the initiative to motivate children to convince their parents to vote.
A school teacher Ashok Kumar Baral said on the direction of School and Mass Education department, ‘Chunav Pathshalas’ (election schools) are being organised at the polling booths to educate voters about the importance of exercising their franchise. “We have sent notes to parents through their wards to vote in the ensuing elections,” he said.
Sources said the average literacy rate of Jagatsinghpur district is 79.08 percent. While the male literacy rate in the district is 88.55 percent, it is 69.28 percent for females. Despite the impressive figure, voter turnout in elections in the district has not been encouraging. Voter turnout in the 2014 Parliamentary elections was 75.54 percent while it was 67.56 percent in the 2009 Parliamentary polls.