Interactive School Engagement(ISE) is an outreach initiative under the flagship SVEEP programme of the Election Commission of India. Under ISE, election officials interact with the students of Class IX-XII, and reply to their queries regarding elections and the electoral process, and sensitise the students about the importance of electoral participation by eligible citizens.
Under the first phase of Interactive School Engagement (ISE), 25,11,594 students from 11,800 schools were covered in January 2017.
Several international studies suggest that the first three elections for which a voter is qualified are of defining importance, and if voting does not become a routine event early in a person’s life, the potential for that individual to participate consistently may be lost.
Election Commission of India has been targeting young and future voters through its voter education and outreach programme SVEEP. The young people falling within the 15-17years age group have been identified by ECI as the ‘Future Voters’. The theme for 7th National Voters’ Day (NVD) was ‘Empowering Young and Future Voters’ and the same is the focus of ECI in the year 2017.
Interactive School programme (ISE) has been conceptualized to target at the future voters studying in schools so as to sensitise them about the electoral process in general and about the registration and voting procedure in particular. The ISE is also meant to provide a platform to connect future voters with the election machinery.
The election officials at state, district and constituency level directly interact with the students in identified schools. Different schools are selected in each of the two phases every year so as to cover the maximum number of schools and school going children. Record is maintained on the schools covered in the State/Districts so as to plan the coverage of all Schools once within a period of 3-4 years.
The main component of each interaction with school has the following component:
- All EROs/ROs cover atleast one school within their constituency in each phase to interact with the students in 15-17 year age group (9th-12th standard). The ERO is equipped with a kit and uses the same for interaction with the school students.
- Similarly DEOs and CEOs cover atleast one school, within their district and State/UT respectively during the same period. It is ensured that those Schools are covered by DEO and CEO that are not covered by the EROs.
- CEOs ensure that rural and urban schools are equally covered and suitable components from the kit are used based on the target audience and their familiarity with the format/medium.
- The students are given the badge of ‘Future Voter’ and the brochure, as given in the kit.
- Selected students (based on the best question asked or any similar criteria) are suitably rewarded with non-monetary incentives like merchandise item, certificate of appreciation etc.
In some districts, volunteering students are invited to watch the election process right from filing of nominations till counting of votes in election states/UTs. In non-election states and UTs, students are given the opportunity to have a guided tour of a model Voter Facilitation centre or election museum.
The entire exercise is carried out within a month, every year in two phases each as given:
1st Phase – January, ahead of the National Voters’ Day (J&K, Uttarakhand where schools remain closed throughout January, may extend it till March)
2nd Phase – July, ahead of the Summary Revision
A report on the number of schools covered district wise is submitted to the CEO and to ECI.
EROs also list out the questions put forth to them by the students. The databank of these Questions is maintained
Edited by ECI