8.1 Election is an integral part of the institution of democracy and as such, a free, fair and efficient election process is a must for safeguarding democracy. Effective and fairly conducted election largely depends on skilled and well-trained election personnel as well as on the awareness of the voters and political activists about their franchise rights and knowledge of election rules and regulations.
8.2 The Bangladesh Election Commission is putting in considerable efforts in making the existing election process effective and smooth. In a bid to cope with the changing circumstances and to familiarize the election officials, political activities and voters with the election process, the Election Commission has established one Electoral Training Institute in Dhaka. Since election process involves complex functions and procedures it is necessary that the election personnel take extensive training in performing their task properly and effectively. This applies also to voters and political activists so that they also share similar knowledge about election procedures. The objectives of such specialized training are :
· To create an efficient electoral management system.
· To provide training facilities for the polling personnel.
· To educate the polling agents and political activists.
· To make the voters aware about their civil, political and franchise rights.
8.3 So far training programmes have been conducted on the methods and procedures of voter registration, up-dating the electoral rolls of election, election offences, pre-poll irregularities, duties and responsibilities of the polling personnel, role of Judicial officials of Electoral Enquiry Committees, duties and responsibilities of law enforcing agencies, the requirement and the use of different forms, packets and materials at the polling station, conducting polls, franchise rights and role of the voters, role of observers, role of political activists in ensuring fair election, process of counting of votes, preparation of ballot paper account, statement of counts and consolidation of results etc.
8.4 The Election Commission arranges several training programmes for training of the polling personnel on election process centrally at the Electoral Training Institute in Dhaka as well as at Divisional, District and Thana/Upzila head quarters. Separate handbooks and manuals on election process for the guidance of the Returning Officers, Presiding and Assistant Presiding Officers, Polling Officers etc. are also prepared and distributed under the direction of the Election Commission.
8.5 Extensive use of the mass media including Radio & TV has been made in relaying voter education message through radio spots, documentaries, and short films etc.
8.6 The Election Commission Secretariat already houses several stand-alone PCs. Projects are underway to equip the secretariat with modern powerful computers which will be connected to the computers located in all districts of Bangladesh. Upon successful completion of such countrywide network, the Election Commission Secretariat will be able to train all district election personnel through this network. The Electoral Training Institute which already uses some of its computers for preparing training materials will be able to send training manuals electronically to all district office computers.