Introduce citizenship education to increase democratic participation

The IRM researcher recommends government expands its work with citizen-led groups to introduce citizenship education to increase democratic participation. The very first step would be for central government to commit to working with youth, ethnic groups, and local government to develop this commitment and its milestones.

This work could build on existing initiatives such as the October 2016 Civics, Citizenship and Political Literacy workshop, and could focus on a sub-national project in South Auckland, with specific goals for government and the community to improve voter participation in the 2019 local government elections.

 

Why the contribution is important

There is recent evidence that public distrust of government is growing and that voter participation in elections is declining. At the 2016 local and 2017 general elections, citizen-led groups initiated online and social media activities to encourage young and first-time voters to engage directly with issues. Government also hosted a Civics, Citizenship and Political Literacy workshop on 10 October 2016 in the Legislative Council Chamber at Parliament to listen to different perspectives and discuss next steps towards a civically engaged New Zealand. Ongoing work with the Civics, Citizenship and Political Literacy Working Group has involved the Ministry of Education and the Electoral Commission. This work anticipates changed government practice, in particular, through developing citizenship education, supporting teaching and learning and working actively to mitigate public distrust in government. This kind of government initiative could lead to greater citizen participation and to increased democratic practice. It could build on the Aotearoa Youth Declaration developed in 2017 by UN Youth New Zealand.

by NAP2_IRM on April 19, 2018 at 12:08PM

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