The newly established Indian Institute of Democracy and Election Management (IIDEM) will be sharing India’s experience of conducting elections for six decades with its very first batch of students: election officials from Kenya.
The institute will be formally opened with a special five-day training programme for the Kenyan officials from June 27. Eight Kenyans, including an Election Commissioner (Kenya has eight Election Commissioners), will participate in the first training programme in New Delhi.
The institute has been set up by the Election Commission to impart training to election managers and groups associated with managing of elections. The institute is planned as an advanced resource centre of learning, research, training and extension on participatory democracy and election management.
Chief Election Commissioner S.Y. Quraishi told IANS: “The idea of the institute was conceived when we had to train polling personnel to deliver zero-error service for an 11-million electorate. Also, many countries have been requesting us to train their personnel.”
In the past year or more, several governments have sought the assistance of the Election Commission to either train their personnel or help in the conduct of elections.
In April, Egypt’s interim government requested the election panel for assistance in conducting elections. A four-member delegation led by Quraishi went to Cairo for discussions.
The Election Commission had earlier assisted Bhutan, Nepal, Afghanistan, Cambodia, South Africa and Nigeria in conducting their elections.
The Kenyan Election Commission made some specific requests for the training programme. The IIDEM prepared a special, customised programme for the Kenyans.
The programme focuses on five areas; legal framework of elections, Indian electoral system, conflict resolution systems, voter education programmes and election technology.
A large number of Kenyan voters are illiterate, hence educating voters and creating awareness of the importance of elections and casting one’s vote in a democratic system is an important part of the course.
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