Democratic Citizenship Education Presentation to EU Learning Partnership on Active Citizenship Dr. Clodagh Harris Democracy Commission project TASC www.democracycommission.ie
Democratic Citizenship Education • Democratic Citizenship Education – definitions • Democratic Citizenship Education in the Republic of Ireland • Challenges for Democratic Citizenship Education
Democratic Citizenship Education - Definitions ‘Citizenship education is not just a matter of learning the basic facts about the institutions and procedures of political life; it also involves acquiring a range of dispositions, virtues and loyalties that are immediately bound up with the practise of democratic citizenship’ (Kymlicka, 1999)
Democratic Citizenship Educaton - definition ‘for people to think of themselves as active citizens, willing, able and equipped to have an influence in public life and with the critical capacities to weigh evidence before speaking and acting; to build on and to extend radically to young people the best in existing traditions of community involvement and public service, and to make them individually confident in finding new forms of involvement and action among themselves’ (Crick, 1998:7)
Democratic Citizenship Education in the Republic of Ireland – a brief history • 1966 - ‘Civics’ introduced at second level. Mandatory but non-examined. • ‘Civics’ primary aims were ‘to inculcate values such as civic responsibility, moral virtue, patriotism and law abidingness’ • ‘Civics’ was a dying subject by the end of the 1970s. • 1984 attempts to replace it with ‘social and political studies’ never got off the ground • 1993 – NCCA introduced a pilot programme on CSPE. • 1997 CSPE introduced as a mandatory subject to junior cycle
Democratic Citizenship Education - Senior Cycle • Ireland is out of line with its European neighbours – neither citizenship nor political education are taught at senior cycle • NCCA review of senior cycle proposes • The creation of transition year units – 40 hours of teaching • The creation of short courses – 80 hours of teaching. Examined year before leaving certificate. • The creation of Social and political education as a full optional leaving certificate subject
Democratic Citizenship Education in Ireland - Challenges • What values – what loyalties? • What of democratic citizenship education for those outside formal education? • Schools – best venue to teach democracy?
What values/loyalties? • Commission supports Eilis Ward and Karen O’Shea’s proposed ‘Citizenship studies’ which is underpinned by democratic deliberation. • Democratic deliberation requires commitment to the following principles: - Interdependency of human relations - all individuals are equal - conflict can only be resolved by non-violent means - respect for difference and a recognition of the right to hold different views and opinions
What values/loyalties? • For example how should we address the concept of equality? • Baker, Lynch, Cantillon and Walsh identify 4 key contexts of equality and inequality: • Economic equality: goal – equality of resources • Socio-cultural equality: goal – equality of respect and recognition • Political equality: goal – equality of power in public and private institutions • Affective equality: goal - equality in the doing of care work and equality in the receiving of care
A Care-Full View of Citizenship - for Education • Lynch argues that ‘care is a key narrative in citizenship education because we are relational beings’ • She states that we need Care-full conceptualisation of citizenship allied with an egalitarian-based view of citizenship grounded on principles of equality of condition which: - respects autonomy of citizens - recognises fully the interdependency and dependency of all human persons - recognises our emotional sensibilities - education needs to educate citizen carers as well as educating them as public actors on the political, economic and cultural stage of life.