What is the meaning of civic education? It is a public, socially-oriented system of continuous education and upbringing aimed at building civic competence, democratic culture, and satisfying the needs for socialization in the interests of the individual, civil society and the rule of law. Let us find out its importance in modern Nigerian society.
What are the main objectives of civic education? Read on to find out.
What is civic education?
Apart from the definition above, civic education can also be defined as the provision of information and learning experiences to equip and empower citizens to participate in democratic processes.
Main goals of civic education
The main goal of civic education can be considered as the formation of civil qualities on the basis of new knowledge, skills and values that help individuals to solve emerging problems, adapt to changing socio-economic and political conditions, represent and protect their rights and interests, respecting the interests and rights of others.
What are the components of civic education?
The main components of civic education are:
- Human rights education.
- Teaching a culture of peace.
- Education of tolerance.
- Development of intersectoral social partnerships.
- Management of self-governing associations of citizens.
The major groups in the society that civic education is largely targeted at and focused on can be identified as:
- schoolchildren and students;
- military and security forces;
- state and municipal employees;
- NGO activists;
- prisoners and other risk groups;
- pensioners and older people.
What is civic education and its importance in Nigeria?
What is the importance of civic education in Nigerian schools? The main task of civic education is the preparation of children for the future, the task of educating future citizens of our country. Many teachers sincerely wishing for the democratic development of Nigeria have been making efforts both to introduce school subjects that will help the young ones develop self-management and other life skills that will help prepare them for the future.
Why do we study civic education?
The purpose of each state civic program should be the creation of an effective system of ethical and legal education that would contribute to:
- the formation and development of humanistic personal orientations;
- the formation of legal and political culture among schoolchildren;
- the development of their democratic way of thinking and the acquisition of a complex ethical, legal and political knowledge, skills and abilities and the experience that young people need to integrate into a democratic society, for their active participation in the social life of the country and the protection of the rule of law.
Implementation of this system must be facilitated by the creation of a holistic educational and methodical complex.
Today, the following components of the system of civic education in the school are distinguished:
- Ethical and legal education.
- Mastering skills and abilities to assert active citizenship.
- Social practice.
Work in this direction is actively supported by the Council of Europe, whose tasks include educating the younger generation towards democratic citizenship based on the priority of human rights.
This work is connected with the education of the teachers themselves, that’s why a whole network of groups of teachers is gradually being created in our country, including those that work in the system of retraining secondary school teachers.
Let us put forward the idea of creating a non-governmental, non-profit public-pedagogical association that would unite all those interested in the development of civic education in Nigeria. The main objectives of such an association should be:
- Information, scientific, methodological, and organizational assistance to teachers, educators, scientists, and journalists working in the field of civic education and youth education.
- Publication of scientific, educational, methodical, and popular literature on issues of civic education.
- Assistance to teachers in the development and implementation of promising educational projects.
- The study and generalization of domestic and world experience in the education of youth in the spirit of democracy, freedom and human rights.
- Assistance in international cooperation of teachers.
If such an association would be created in Nigeria, it should promote the development of democratic processes in school education, primarily by creating a democratic lifestyle in schools and disseminating this experience in other schools.
Surely, there are more target groups than only pupils and teachers. But let’s not forget that this audience will show much more will in their study, so the effectiveness of civic education in such a case would be much higher because it is easier to raise a democratic people than trying to break the entrenched rules of previous generations.
Frequently Asked Questions
In this section, we answer some of the most commonly asked questions on this topic.
1. What is orderliness in civic education?
Orderliness is the quality or habit of appreciating and systematic way with the aim of achieving set goals. It is the condition where things follow laid down procedures or are properly arranged.
Six ways of exhibiting orderliness in the society include:
- Decorum in habits, relations, actions, programs at the bus stop.
- Queuing culture by obeying rules that promote orderliness like queuing at the ATM points.
- Obeying traffic regulations or rules when driving.
- Listening skills and politeness in the public.
- Tolerance of oppositions i.e, tolerating opposing views, religions and social critics.
- Due process and justice; allowing thing to follow their proper order.
2. What is cultism in civic education?
Cultism is a form of organization whose activities are not only exclusively kept away from the knowledge of others but such activities are carried out at odd hours of the day and they often clash with the accepted norms and values of everyday life.
3. What is value in civic education?
Value is the esteemed quality in which a person attaches to certain ideas, beliefs or principles.
Positive values include gratitude, truth-telling, hard work, and obedience while examples of negative values are anger, pride, laziness, discrimination, lust, and gluttony.
4. What are civic dispositions?
Civic dispositions are defined as the citizen traits necessary for democracy (e.g. tolerance, public-spiritedness, civility, critical mindedness and willingness to listen, negotiate, and compromise).
5. What are civic skills?
Civic skills refer to citizens’ ability to analyze, evaluate, take and defend positions on public issues, and to use their knowledge to participate in civic and political processes (e.g. to monitor government performance, or mobilize other citizens around particular issues).
7. What are the promising approaches to civic education?
For this type of learning to be effective, schools should do the following:
- Encourage student participation in school governance.
- Provide instruction in government, history, law, and democracy.
- Incorporate discussion of current local, national, and international issues and events into the classroom, particularly those that young people view as important to their lives.
- Encourage students’ participation in simulations of democratic processes and procedures.
- Design and implement programs that provide students with the opportunity to apply what they learn.
- Offer extracurricular activities that provide opportunities for young people to get involved in their schools or communities.
8. What are the advantages of civic education?
Here are some of its benefits:
- Strengthens the basic understanding of our structures of government, along with related processes of legislation and policy making
- Creates a positive school climate that supports students feeling socially, emotionally and physically safe.
- Lowers high school dropout rates.
- Improves government transparency.
- Enhances “21st century competencies” that are valued by colleges, universities and employers.
- Increases voting and discussions of politics in the home.
- Enhances democratic accountability of elected officials.
9. What are the disadvantages of civic education?
- It could be taught by biased people who are pushing you to advocate their own self-interested agenda.
- It occupies your time, preventing you from focusing on other things that may be more important in your life.
- It may sway you towards caring too much about the government and too little about your independent activities unrelated to government.
9. What is Civic Education: What Makes Students Learn?
It is a book by Richard G. Niemi, Jane Junn published by Yale University Press in the year 2005. The book contains details of what American high school students know about politics and the government and how they obtain this information.
Civic education is an important and effective tool that facilitates the participation of citizens in democratic processes and development processes. This tool helps citizens speak both on their own behalf and within a certain group. Civic participation is built on the protection of individual and collective rights and on ensuring understanding of the obligations of each citizen to the society of which he/she is a part.