October 22, 2014 - 7:30 AM
THOMPSON-OKANAGAN - Students across the province will get a chance to take part in the democratic process this November, from meeting candidates and hosting forums to reading about election issues and casting votes.
In Kamloops Westsyde Secondary School students will once again be participating in Student Vote, a program aimed at getting young people involved in the political process. Teacher Jeremy Reid has had his students involved in city politics and Student Vote for a number of years.
His students use Twitter, under the handle @BlueWaveWSS, to follow politics and they regularly interact with council members and this year the Grade 11 students will also host a small forum with four candidates.
The Student Vote program coincides with the official election period and sees B.C. students take part in the election process through class activities, school-wide events and media resources before actually casting ballots at their school on Nov. 13-14.
The program is open to all elementary, middle and secondary schools across the country and activities are used to help inform students about government and the electoral process, which helps to build a sense of civic duty. Students will also take on the roles of deputy returning officers and poll clerks during the election proceedings.
Student Vote began as a way to help engage younger voters as voter turnout continues to decline, especially in younger Canadians. A study of the program found interest is not only fostered in the students taking part but also their parents. More than 60 per cent of parents reported an increase of interest and knowledge when their kids took part in the program.
Aside from Westsyde Secondary another seven schools have already signed on for the program in Kamloops. Dallas, RL Clemitson, Kay Bingham, McGowan Park and Summit Elementary schools join Beattie School of the Arts, St. Ann’s Academy and Westsyde Secondary in the project.
Throughout the Okanagan nearly a dozen schools have already registered as well — KLO, Rutland, and Springvalley Middle Schools along with Dorothea Walker Elementary, Okanagan Mission Secondary, Kelowna Secondary School and Aberdeen Hall in Kelowna, Queen’s Park, Columbia and West Bench Elementary schools in Penticton and Vernon Secondary School.
In total 266 B.C. schools have registered for the program, which is run with the help of Canadian Heritage, the Ministry of Community, Sport and Cultural Development, the B.C. Teachers’ Federation, Elections B.C., CivicInfo B.C. and the Vancouver Foundation.
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News from © InfoTel News Ltd, 2014