This year will see young people once again take part in events designed to inspire their involvement in national politics.
The Post-16 Citizenship Development Programme operated by the Learning and Skills Development Agency, uses activities rather than a passive learning approach to teach young adults learning about the society in which they live.
The Post-16 Citizenship Programme started after the growing concerns about the levels of apathy, ignorance and cynicism amongst youngsters. These feelings were mainly directed in their opinions about public life which were surveyed in the Crick report in 2000.
LSDA Project Manager Bernadette Joslin said the report is timely. “What we have discovered is that citizenship education can really galvanize young people into becoming activists in a positive way- through the academic process.”
Young people from various colleges, youth organizations and work ““ based training schemes are involved in the programme, which is run in conjunction with local partnerships which get them involved with their community. Ms. Joslin said the lack of political knowledge displayed by recent polls of young adults generated the interest in citizenship education. “Publicizing schemes like this can help to show the value that they can contribute to society,” she said.
The Post 16 Citizenship Development Programme for 16 ““19 year olds started in September 2001, with around 40 projects. By 2003 the amount of events the LSDA, has doubled.
Almost 17,000 young people are now involved in the program in over a hundred schools, colleges, training providers and youth groups.With funding provided by the Department for Education and Skills for this programme, students are learning how to find the “student voice”, and with that voice making the clear the definition of what it means to be a citizen. “Just helping someone across the road is not citizenship,” offered a young person involved with the project. “If you are a good citizen, you will go to the council and get a zebra crossing to be there so that it benefits everyone.”
Methods to encourage active learning include role-play projects, photography, websites, debates and youth Parliaments. Citizenship projects vary to include Youthcomm, an online and communications service for young people run by the Worchesterhire Youth Service, rap performances on the theme of citizenship, photographic projects, and community action campaigns.
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