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From Rote to Vote: First Ever School Election on Voting Machines

Editor's note: In a process that brings together students and teachers, the election for School Pupil Leader will be held using electronic voting machines for the first time in GPS history. On 21st June, GPSites will exercise their franchise, in a nod to democracy.

This academic year has seen a lot of new initiatives at school, but nothing can quite rival the digitally-run electronic voting process this year for the election for School Pupil Leader, scheduled for 21st June.

Until last year, the Student Council was constituted using a system of nominations by teachers and former Student Councillors, with a process that would last weeks and have mysterious summons of the candidates to the conference room.

In the beginning of June this year, instead of asking for nominations from teachers, the school handed Student Council application forms to all 11th-grade students. Unlike the traditional process as in the previous years, teachers cannot nominate, but may recommend a candidate for a certain position. 

In this new holistic process, all of a student’s achievements — academic, sports and cultural — are taken into account. while determining the validity of his/her nomination. 

Here is a quick purview on the process. Each of the eligible applications is graded and the top 8 students are interviewed by the Principal, both Vice-Principals and the Head of Enrichment, to be nominated for School Pupil Leader.

After they interview the 8 candidates, the field is narrowed to 5 nominees. The 5 nominees are allowed to campaign for themselves and participate in the general election. The candidates are also allowed to have an election symbol for themselves.

The question now is — what happens to the 4 candidates who will lose tomorrow’s election? If a boy is elected School Pupil Leader, then the runner-up male candidate will automatically become Head Boy and the female candidate with the most votes will automatically become Head Girl. It will be vice versa if a girl is elected School Pupil Leader.

The remaining two candidates will be awarded their next preference of position. After all the 5 original candidates have positions, other applications will be considered for the remaining posts. Typically, the other positions, are House Prefect, Prefects for Communication Culture, Hospitality and Environment. However, it has been mentioned that the Council may be expanded to include more positions in the future to accommodate the growing size of the school.

Voting starts tomorrow, immediately after the assembly. Results are likely to be announced the same day.

This sudden transition to a partially-democratic system, Deepa ma’am says, is an attempt to make the process more transparent and to ensure that everyone receives fair and equal consideration.

In Deepa Ma’am’s opinion, the House Prefects are the ones that need to be the most proactive as they are directly responsible for over 200 students and 150 house events.

Hence, a fully democratic system, wherein even the House Prefects will be elected, is in the pipeline and may be rolled out next year.

At this critical juncture in our school’s history, I ask you to whole-heartedly vote for the candidate who you believe is most suited for the school’s highest student office.

On 21st June 2017, Madhav Govind was elected School Pupil Leader. The runners-up, Ashwin Menon & Ashwini Sreekumar were automatically designated Head Boy & Head Girl respectively. They will be officially inaugurated, along with the new House Prefects and other Councillors during the Investiture Ceremony scheduled for June 27th.

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