A flourishing and functioning democracy should go hand in hand with an involved, informed and educated population.
It is essential that basic political literacy is a core part of every child’s education. At present, the teaching of citizenship differs from school to school, and between the nations of the UK. That disparity of knowledge leads to political inequality between those who know how to hold their representatives to account, and those who can’t.
We can’t expect people to participate in public life if they don’t know how it works. A vacuum in political education over the decades has led to the stagnation we see today, where placing an ‘X’ in the box every couple of years is the expected limit of our engagement.
But citizenship education does not have to stop at the basics of parties and institutions. We need a vibrant curriculum that teaches the next generation how to get involved beyond the ballot box.
Young people today are the most connected in history, they care about and campaign on issues but still feel disengaged in what they see as ‘traditional politics’. Their increased participation through better understanding will ensure that young people’s voices are heard, their interests understood and our politics revitalised.
More information about Citizenship education
Debating the TV Debates
In the run up to the Question Time Special, ERS commissioned leading academics in the field of communications and media to look at the impact of the debates on viewers.
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Scotland’s Future Citizens
The importance of developing the practice of citizenship is hard to overstate.
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