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Electing class representatives on Chai Wan Campus

The class representative elections took place from September 25 to 27 on our Chai Wan campus. For the third year, the campus staff put in a lot of time and effort to organise them and make them look as realistic as possible.

These elections are part of the Moral and Civic teaching programme, that encompasses a variety of aspects, including :

  • Respecting others: waiting for one’s turn, listening, knowing the first aid process
  • Learning about and sharing the values of the French Republic: secularism, French flag, national holiday and anthem, Human Rights Declaration, Convention on the Rights of the Child…
  • Building up a civic culture: respecting a variety of opinions, knowing how to debate and vote, getting involved in community projects

In this respect, class representative elections are an opportunity to have them experience an actual election.

Each year, there are approximately 60 candidates who decide to run, or 20% of the campus ! Each candidate must collect 3 signatures out of 25. Once candidates are officially declared, the campaign can start : after studying actual electoral material from past French presidential elections, each candidate needs to prepare a poster, usually prepared at home with the help of their parents and sometimes siblings, and later posted throughout the campus. Candidates are also asked to try and come upwith a slogan.

Another important aspect is their programme they are running on. Obviously, promising to ask for longer recess and chocolate fountains for everyone sounds very attractive! The ideas of what may be doable? what is useful to everyone ?, are gradually introduced. Candidates must give a presentation of their programme in front of their class, answer potential questions from voters and try to be convincing.

On this occasion, they can practise and improve their skills in terms of public speaking, listening, argumenting as well as their ability to accept ideas that are not theirs or learn how to handle potential disappointments.

After several years of experience, the oldest students (CM2) know the system well and can, therefore, go into deeper thinking and analysis: what criteria should I base my vote on? Should I vote for the popular candidate or the reasonable one? What are the consequences of my vote? When am I speaking as the others’ voice, and when am I my own voice? If, later on, I disagree with something the elected candidate does, how should I tell them?

This exercice is also a good opportunity to learn specific, election-related vocabulary in English, or to talk about the British electoral system, the House of Lords or even discuss Brexit. Students get to understand that each country works differently. For instance, in France, one gets to put a ballot into an envelope, whereas in Hong Kong people are expected to stamp.

And finally, the time to vote has come!

The patio turns into a polling station looking a lot like where they will vote in when they grow up. There are polling booths (that look like funny-looking fitting rooms for some !), ballot boxes generously lent by the French Consulate, ballots with each candidate’s name and even blank ballot papers. Voters are to show their electoral card to assessors, who are all CM1 & CM2 students. The voting takes place in a very serious atmosphere… soon to be replaced by joyous reactions and shouting when the results are finally announced !

Congratulations to all elected candidates !

 

We extend our most sincere gratitude to David Bechemin (CE2), Aude Antomori (CM2), Philippine Campion (English and bilingual CM1/CM2 classes) and of course Meriem Belhadj, for answering all our questions. One more time, congratulations to the team and the students !

Have a look at all our pictures in our Flickr album.