The Importance of Citizenship Education within the Curriculum

Recently the UK High court determined that Parliament must vote on whether the UK can start the procedure of Article 50 to leave the European Union. Newspapers reacted, with some branding the high court judges as ‘Enemies of the people’ which also prompted a call for an increase in citizenship lessons and resources to be introduced by the government in British schools.

Tom Franklin of the citizenship foundation claimed the headlines ‘Enemies of the people’ “showed either a deep misunderstanding of the Rule of Law – or a wilful attempt to mislead people and undermine our rights and freedoms.” In order to combat these headlines and the confusion they may cause, the government in partnership with the citizenship foundation and the Bar council (British Barristers council) have produced a teaching resource, which is scheduled to be sent for free to all British secondary schools as of next week. This resource is intended to outline the roles and processes of high court Judiciary and governments by utilising the current political climate as a real life example.

The use of real life examples to teach citizenship is really important and would be especially useful in discussing Post Brexit racial tensions. This can help children formulate their own opinions and be more open minded regarding race and different cultures within our country.

This can help to stamp out racial tensions and hatred in our society by teaching about our differences when in school.

Why Study Citizenship?

In order to inspire social action from these young people, we must first educate them on how the country works. In this increasingly political world in which we live, the importance of children understanding things such as the rule of high court in maintaining a democracy is vital for a society to move forward. Citizenship studies aids teenagers to better understand what is going on in the world around them, and thus assist in developing minds that can make their own opinions and be able to argue them effectively. It also supports young people in developing the skills to tackle difficult situations open-mindedly and intelligently through debate surrounding real life events and political happenings.

The importance of teaching citizenship as a subject within schools is also paramount in creating informed and active members of society. While not all children may need this in order to understand governments and lawful jurisdictions, the problem is some do, and for a democracy to work each person has to matter, so everyone should know.

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