MINISTERS are being urged to introduce a national school voter registration programme within all schools in Scotland fearing youngsters are not engaging with the elections.

New figures show there's been a 40% drop in the number of ‘attainers’ - young people who will reach voting age over the next year - on the UK electoral register since December 1, 2015, when the introduction of the new individual voter registration system was completed.

And it has further emerged that official figures show that December, the size of the electorate has actually gone down by two percent in Scotland.

On the eve of the introduction of IER it was estimated that some 85% of the population eligible to vote were actually registered. It was estimated that up to 7.5 million people were not registered in 2014.

During the transition to IER it is estimated another 1.4 million names were removed.

Under IER, people must register to vote individually rather than being listed on a form filled in by one member of a household.

Electoral reform campaigners have raised concerns that the changes to the registration rules mean that young people can no longer be registered by their parents, universities or colleges, and are worried that they are now less likely to vote and will become increasingly politically disengaged.

Electoral Reform Society Scotland and Bite The Ballot are saying that with the lowering of the voting age in Scotland to 16, it is "time to foster a generation of informed, equipped and active young citizens" by bringing an encouragement to engage with the democratic process through schools.

They want voter registration to be included within the Curriculum of Excellence so that no young person leaves school without being registered to vote - which they say is the "first step on a journey to active citizenship".

They want to ensure Modern Studies to be made a compulsory offering in all secondary schools.

They also want tuition about the role an informed citizens should also be a key part of the Curriculum for Excellence.

Their manifesto for change, comes as the Scottish parties have revealed how they have tailored their electioneering to engage with first-time young voters during the Scottish Parliamentary elections.

The SNP have shared a mini-manifesto for Scotland's young people online, and have appointed Britain's youngest MP 21-year-old Mhairi Black as their youth campaign co-ordinator, visiting constituencies across the country.

The electoral reform groups believes that involving the schools willhelp to ensure that every young person in Scotland leaves school empowered and equipped with skills, knowledge and confidence to register to vote and understand, challenge and help evolve our political processes.

The groups said: "The less young people vote, the easier it is for politicians to ignore them. This cycle feeds a climate of disengagement and ‘apathy’. It’s more vital than ever that schools play a key role in increasing registration and turnout."

In Northern Ireland, the Electoral Registration Office works directly with schools through a schools initiative and the result has been a "dramatic increase" in registered 18 to 19-year-olds, bringing it 7% above the UK average.

ERS Scotland and Bite The Ballot have written to all the parties in Scotland to back #ThePledge, the call for stronger citizenship education.

Willie Sullivan, Scottish Director of Electoral Reform Society, said: “Even though young people today are the most connected generation in history, they're also the generation that is most disconnected from politics. They are either cut off from, don't value or aren't participating in political processes. But can we blame them?

"To combat this, it's vital that young people's voices are heard and that their priorities are understood - and acted on. But we need a much bigger focus on democracy in our schools if we're going to develop citizens who are engaged from the very start of their adult lives.

"We should constantly be asking what we can do to improve the way citizenship is developed in Scotland. With the lowering of the voting age in Scotland to 16, first for the referendum on independence and subsequently for elections to Holyrood, now is the time to foster a generation of informed, equipped and active young citizens.”

The SNP has tried to foster young people's engagement through a digital campaign, with targeted advertising "to direct content at the specific demographics you want to see it".

A live Facebook video Q&A aimed at young people was hosted by Mhairi Black and Humza Yousaf, minister for Europe and international development and was viewed by around 75,000.

They have also produced materials that could be requested by pupils at schools holding mock elections.

The Scottish Labour Party said the best way to engage younger voters was through social media but that sites like Facebook were already seen as uncool amongst 16 and 17-year-olds who preferred to communicate through sites such as Whatsapp, Instagram or Snapchat.

He said: “Rather than getting headline policy messages across in a blog, as we would have done in the past, it is more effective to use an informal approach.

“That could involve behind the scenes photographs from campaigning posted on Instagram or Buzzfeed-style listicles on social media which look at policies in a different way."

The Liberal Democrats said they had embarked on the largest social media campaign they have run to engage with young people, creating more content for sharing on platforms like Facebook and Twitter than ever before.

Scottish Greens have sent over 5000 postcards to young and first time voters in Glasgow and the North East.