The Independent Electoral Commission (IEC) in the Free State will launch the Schools Democracy Week programme in the five regions of the province from Wednesday (18/04) to Friday (20/04). This project is undertaken in partnership with the province’s Department of Education. Mmathabo Rasengane, IEC provincial spokesperson, said the Schools Democracy Week was held annually countrywide, having launched in 2013. “The Schools Democracy Week was initiated in 2013 following the signing of a memorandum of agreement between the electoral commission and the Department of Basic Education to increase youth participation in electoral democracy,” Rasengane said. “The initiative aims to educate learners about electoral democracy and the significance of the process.”Rasengane said the programme would be rolled out in selected public schools in the country from Monday (23/04) to 27 April, coinciding with South Africa celebrating Freedom Day and 24 years of democracy on 27 April.According to Rasengane, the programme also intends to encourage the youth to register to be eligible to vote in the future, targeting first-time voters to register and explaining the importance of voting. “The long-term objective is to entrench active participation in the voting process as a fundamental civic responsibility. “It also focuses on institutionalising electoral democracy content into the formal school curriculum at all levels.” Rasengane said the programme would include activities, debate, presentations, mock elections, role playing, voter registration, interactive sessions, lectures and formal lessons. Schedule Xhariep: the Mofulatshepe Primary School in Smithfield (18 April) Lejweleputswa: the Hlaboloha Primary School in Bothaville (20 April) Thabo Mofutsanyana: the Mehopung Primary School in Ficksburg (23 April) Fezile Dabi: the Matlwangtlwang Secondary School in Steynsrus (19 April) Mangaung Metro: The Thapelong Secondary School in Vanstadensrus (20 April).