Wednesday, May 16, 2007

The state of education

One could make much political capital and have great fun with the following blog post, made by David Cameron after spending two days at the front line of a Hull secondary school.

"The day starts badly, for me at least... Helping register a class of 13-year-olds, no-one - and I mean literally no one - has even heard of the Conservative Party. Using "hangman" on the interactive whiteboard they get to "Conser_ati_e party" - with one girl guessing at "Conservation" - before anyone gets it"

But surely this reflects perhaps more on the standard of secondary school education. While there are many factors that influence political engagement; political knowledge, familiarity with the system and its rules and the key player, are as key as the type of communication used. While many resort to social media, the first step to encourage youth engagement seems to be to not create the site but offer the basic knowledge about the parties so the future voters can visit if they wish to. Citizenship is now supposed to be part of the curriculum but it is not widespread and remains somewhat nebulous in content. How to vote is covered but not the history of the parties as that would be party political; but how else can the young learn? One of the key gripes many students have on encountering politics at University is that they lack the basics and do not really understand how 'it all works', surely this is a problem, no?

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