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$30,000 election teaching awards announced

MEDIA STATEMENT – FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE – 20 JUNE 2005

$30,000 election teaching awards announced

The Electoral Commission has launched teaching awards backed by a $30,000 prize pool for teachers making use of the general election as the basis of classroom study.

“While most school students are not old enough to vote, learning about and experiencing the power of democracy when young is more likely to lead to participation when older,” says Electoral Commission chief executive Dr Helena Catt.

“Besides which, we know that children can be a positive influence on adults – and having students talking about their learning at home might see a few voters thinking about their election options!” she added.

“We want to encourage teachers to use the election context in class and to award the best teaching which sees students experiencing and taking on board concepts relating to democracy, including participation, leadership, debate and elections,” Dr Catt says.

“New Zealand has falling electoral participation, with younger adults being much less likely to enrol or vote. Having young adults reach voting age already aware of the value of having a say means they are more likely to get into the habit of voting early,” she explained.

The teaching awards are open to all teachers and subjects from Years 0-15 and include categories for: original resources and teaching units, as well as use of existing ones; teaching outside social sciences; teaching in te reo Maori; single classroom and multi-room or school studies.

More details are available at www.elections.org.nz/study.html. Entries close on 30 September 2005.

ENDS

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