Link Between Civic Education and Citizenship Education

Topics: Law, Politics, Social sciences Pages: 5 (1383 words) Published: December 25, 2012
This essay endeavors to discuss the connection between citizenship education and civic education. It will further look at whether there is a difference between the two or if they are the same. Lastly, the conclusion will be drawn. Before going into a detailed discussion it is prudent to define the key words, that is , Civic education and Citizenship education respectively. Civic Education is a broader field and therefore can be defined in many different ways depending on the orientation of the educators, time , place and dictates of the political regime in the country. Zambia Civic Education Association (2004:38) “Civic Education refers to the formal awareness of the country’s citizens about their moral and legal entitlements (rights), their expected moral and legal functions(duties) as well as the extent to which they can influence the utilization of national/public resources, monitor leadership legitimacy and take part in decision making (governance).” Hamwiinga (2008:2) defines Civic Education as “an envisaged broader- based subject which relates to human beings and relationship with the natural, physical, social and cultural environment.” According to UNDP (2004) “ Civic Education is learning for effective participation in democratic and development processes at both local and national levels”. This then implies that if the citizens have not learnt about Civic Education they will not be able to uphold good democratic values thereby failing to be part of the local and national democratic and development processes. In a democracy people have to vote for their leaders, they have to be involved in decision making and participate in development processes. Therefore, citizens can participate fully in a democratic society if they are well embraced with their civic rights and responsibilities. As we look at Civic Education, there is need to focus on the three essential components of good Civic Education. The first one is civic knowledge is about imparting ideas and information. The idea is to equip the citizens with knowledge in their social and economic rights as well as their political and civic rights. UNDP(2004) still give illustrative activities on civic knowledge. In the area of electoral assistance, UNDP has designed methods to increase knowledge in structures of democracy; the role of elections and political parties in elections, the role of parliament and the specific mechanisms of how elections are run. With such knowledge reaching out to the majority, the issue of malpractices and apathy will reduce. In both Civic Education and Citizenship Education involve the impartation of civic knowledge , hence the connection. The other component is that of civic skills, civic skills involves citizens acquiring the ability to explain , analyze, interact, evaluate and monitor processes and outcomes. Some of the activities from the UNDP illustrative activities is leadership training, election observation and facilitation. When civic skills are imparted into the citizens they will be able to monitor elections ,lead others and be able to justify a situation. If citizens are well informed , they will obviously be able to participate effectively in development and political processes. Having look critically at Citizenship education as well as Civic education, we can deduce that both involves the impartation and development of civic skills so as to have better citizen in society, therefore a link between the two. The last component is that of civic disposition which involves citizens developing confidence to be able to participate in civic life. For example, UNDP programme in HIV/AIDS specifically addresses perceptions of HIV/AIDS both community and commercial based leading to an overall improvement in the communication of the messages in the epidemic and understanding and inclusion of people as citizens who are living with HIV/AIDS. In this ways citizens have started treating each other with respect. Civic disposition still...

References: Hamwiinga, B.M. (2008). The Status of Civic Education in Zambian High Schools.Lusaka: Curriculum Development Centre.
Kerr,D. (2000). Citizenship Education: An international comparison. In D. Lawton ,J. Cairns and R. Gardner (eds), Education for Citizenship. London: Continuum.
Kidwell, L.F (2005). The relationship between Civic Education and State Policy: An Evaluative study. A dissertation presented to the University of Southern California, Los Angeles, California, USA.
Osborne, K (1982).Civic, Citizenship and Politics: Political Education in the Schools. Teacher Education.
Osler, A. and Starkey, H. (2005) Changing Citizenship: Democracy and inclusion in education. Maidenhead: Open UP.
McKinnon, D.(2007). Education for the good of all: Our shared perspective. In N.S.P Commonwealth Secretariat, Commonwealth Secretariat staff (ed), Commonwealth Education Partnership2007(p.vii) : Nexus Strategic Partnership.
UNDP (2004) Civic Education (Practical Guidance Note) Democratic Governance Group.
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