“I hope that you will disseminate this knowledge you gained during this program to your relatives and friends you have outside school. I would encourage you again to exercise this right and opportunity you have been offered to decide about your future” he stated. The Commissioner thanked the Council of Europe, the Academy of Political Studies and the Ministry of Education Youth and Sports for making possible this program of information of matura students who vote for the first time, even under the situation of pandemics.
The Head of CoE Office in Tirana, Mrs. Jutta Gutzkow, encouraged young people to be always engaged in elections processes and be active citizens in order to ensure the right level of functional democracy.
Information on “Awareness of First Time Voters ” program 2021 107,024 young people will be eligible to vote for the first time in April 25th elections – a very important right, on which many young people are not informed.
For this reason, the Academy of Political Studies in cooperation with the Ministry of Education, Sports and Youth, the Central Election Commission, with the support of the Council of Europe, have been implementing during the last 2 months “Awareness of the first time voters” program. This program is built on the positive experience gained from previous campaigns implemented since 2011, ahead of elections.
During this period, 385 teachers were trained in this program throughout the country, which aimed to extend to all the public high schools in the country (356 schools). These teachers have taught two informative classes on democracy, electoral systems and the importance of voting with about 35 thousand last year students, who vote for the first time.
The program is finalized during this week, the last week ahead the elections, through a voting exercise, a simulation of the voting center, where the students take the roles of the commissioner or observers and two or three candidates selected by among their school mates are voted.
The aim of this exercise is to train young voters about the process and inform them about the problems such as family voting or vote buying and selling, which damage electoral standards. Students are also encouraged to share these awareness messages with their family members.