The live public debate for the National Council elections is in full swing with the poll day just 23 days away. This allows voters to choose the right candidate. But not everyone and particularly the younger generation is interested to watch the live debate. However, a group of students in Zhemgang managed to make time to watch the live debate held recently. The students who are members of the Democracy and Media Club in Zhemgang Central School say watching the live debate helped them better understand the parliamentary and electoral processes and the role of the National Council as the house of review.
The multipurpose hall of the Zhemgang Primary School on the evening of last Thursday was packed with people from different sections of society in Zhemgang to watch the BBS live broadcast for the National Council Zhemgang candidates.
Among the audience were two girls, the youngest ones to experience and observe the live National Council public debate.
Yeshi Choden and Phuntsho Choden of Zhemgang Central School, also the member of the school’s democracy club said it was an opportunity for them to learn about the process of parliamentary elections and understand in depth the role of National Council representatives. They said besides, it helped them build their confidence to stand for such elections in the future.
“I felt it is worth watching because in the near future if I happen to be a candidate or participate in the elections, I will have a better understanding of how to stand for such debates. I will know what questions to ask and how to respond. In this debate, I liked the topic which was the balance of trade because it is basically about export exceeding imports. I came to know the problem of balance of trade,” said Yeshi Choden.
Besides understanding elections and democratic processes, a few members of the media club from the same school said they got to understand the role of media in the election process, starting from the basics including camera setup, lighting and online editing to moderating debate. They said they read about the media’s function in elections only in books until now.
“Being a media student, I felt it was a good opportunity to attend the live debate because I observed many media-related activities such as camera setup and learned a lot being a media student,” said Sonam Zangmo, a student.
“As a media student, I learned many things and I felt excited to see this for the first time. So, if the ECB could further grant us an opportunity like this, we would be very grateful because we get to know more about the elections and media,” said Kuenzang Tshering Choden, another student.
The Zhemgang Central School initiated the Democracy Club in 2015 to inculcate the importance of voting in young minds so that they will exercise their franchise and shoulder citizenry responsibility.
The public debate takes place every five years. The students said while the participants standing for the debate might keep changing every election, the lessons people draw from it will stay on for years.
Pema Samdrup, Zhemgang
Edited by Phub Gyem