The term ‘political education’ has been mostly associated with negative or unnecessary education for students. The phrase ‘keep politics away from education’ remained a strong approach to negate the importance of political education for young students. However, political education plays an important role in making citizens capable of shaping a democratic society in a critical and independent way.
Researches and data show that half of the young people eligible for voting do not use their right to vote. This attitude of young people demonstrates their lack of interest in political system. The young people are becoming more and more disillusioned about the governments and find it irrelevant to take active part in politics. In result, recent developments have shown the victory of right-wing politics and increasing populism in different parts of world.
Without political education young people remain unaware of their political rights and responsibilities. They cannot distinguish between exploitation and crisis. The fight for democracy and accountability against corruption remains irrelevant topics among messes. On the other side political education plays a constructive role to create an understanding of common good for all. Through political education it is possible to penetrate the sense of individual responsibilities and awareness of citizens’ rights in a society.
It is imperative to introduce special classes from 5th grade onwards for all students at school. They should be introduced with politics as a career opportunity to think about it as an option for their future. This will raise the chances of next generation to take part in politics more actively without being ill-informed about politics. However, following are the necessary topics to teach at school level in political education classes:
- Government and politics
- Parties and elections
- Politics and the media
- Active citizenship
- Basic theories of politics
- Globalization and international relations
Through these programs young people would be able to critically and analytically shape their opinion about politics. It is important in current political environment to strengthen democracies and to find like-minded citizens to stand together against anti-democratic politics. Young people are the greatest force to fight against populism and anti-immigrant and anti-migration policies. We need to promote political education to create open and welcoming societies for all where everyone has equal rights and opportunities.
Written by Nabeela Khalid Pervez