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Empowered Youth Are Ambassadors of Truth

Empowered Youth Are Ambassadors of Truth
Attorney General and Minister for Education Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum (centre) after the presentation on January 11, 2018. Photo: DEPTFO
January 12
11:00 2018

About 20,000 student workbooks, along with a further 40,000 replica ballot papers, were handed over to the Ministry of Education for distribution to all Year 10 students in the country.

Minister for Education Ai­yaz Sayed-Khaiyum, while receiving electoral process learning equipment from the Fijian Elections Office yes­terday, stressed the impor­tance of empowering young people.

Citing the Census results released on Wednesday that showed 69 per cent of Fiji’s population was under the age of 27, Mr Sayed-Khaiyum said youths were the “ambas­sadors of the truth”.

“It is critically important, as we’ve been saying as Gov­ernment, that our young people need to be empowered and they need to be aware of what is happening in the country,” Mr Sayed-Khaiyum said.

“More so than that, they need to be aware of the ac­tual democratic processes (and) the electoral processes that lead towards them being governed by different politi­cal parties.”

A teacher’s manual and an elections kit will also be dis­tributed as part of an educa­tion ministry’s plan to incor­porate electoral processes learning into the school cur­riculum.

Supervisor of Elections, Mohammed Saneem said they expected to train more than 16,000 students using the equipment.

“As well as educating stu­dents, who will become eligible to vote in two years, parents and elders could also benefit from young people being aware of electoral pro­cesses,” the A-G said.

“When people, in their 30s and 40s, sit around and talk, in particular on social me­dia, they have a tendency of rumour mongering and spreading false information, and these young people are the ones who can correct them.”

He also congratulated the FEO for what he said was an unprecedented level of transparency achieved by the Electoral Commission.

Ane Saukawa, 13, of Jai Narayan College and her school mate Gabriella Tu­lakepa, 15, who were both at the handing over said they felt at an advantage after learning the processes.

The two participated in a short video curated by the FEO and presented at the event outlining the voting process.

“It’s very easy and if we can learn it so can the older gen­eration,” Saukawa said.

Commission chairman Suresh Chandra said he was impressed by the content present in the curriculum, which also required students to hold mock elections in class.

“One must not simply re­gard a person who is over the age of 18 as one who should receive election informa­tion,” Mr Chandra added.

“We strongly believe that every Fijian has a right to know the electoral process and know that the elections are the means to form Gov­ernment.”

Last November, Mr Saneem said the 2018 General Elec­tion could be as little as six months away.

His office has committed $4 million for the recruiting of qualified personnel .

Edited by Percy Kean



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