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52 students vote to choose representative

- First school in Sikkim to conduct election for head boy

Gangtok, April 22: A government school in East Sikkim is the first educational institution in the state to conduct an election for a head boy in which, students voted through a ballot box to choose their representative.

The students of Chisopani Government Junior High School, around 45km from here, voted yesterday and used ballots for the election.

A total of 52 students from Class V to VII took part in the voting to choose the head boy.

“There was a process of selecting the candidates, canvassing and voting. We also had student observers. The whole process was similar to that of the general elections. The idea is to teach the students the concept of democracy and to build leadership qualities in them. The elected leader will look into various issues of the students and also conduct school programmes and compere events,” said Mahesh Dahal, the headmaster of the school.

Parsu Gurung, 14, won the election yesterday and became the head boy.

There were two teams headed by 14-year-olds Nikhil Rai and Parsu Gurung, of Class VII.

“Both the teams were given five days, time to visit the classes and appeal for votes. It was quite interesting to see the students participating with enthusiasm in the process. The students were given a paper to write down the name of one of the students who they wanted to see as the head boy,” said a teacher, Shital Pradhan.

The two candidates started their campaign on April 16 and would ask students to vote for them.

Parsu and Nikhil would tell the students that if they were selected, they would ask the headmaster to get more table tennis bats, balls, footballs and start a green club for the school which would create awareness about the need to keep the institution clean.

Parsu Gurung said he was nervous as well as excited throughout the election process. He won by 42 votes.

“I was quite nervous when the result was announced as I didn’t know if I would win. However, I was happy when my name was announced as the head boy,” said Gurung.

An oath was taken by Gurung after he became the head boy.

He said he wanted to become a politician when he grew up, even though his family had no political background.

Both his parents are farmers.

Nikhil Rai, who lost the election, said he enjoyed the voting procedure and learnt how an election was conducted and a leader chosen.

“This is a very novel and practical idea of teaching the students about the election process,” said a senior teacher.