Universit y of East London

University Certificate in Personal & Career Development
New Beginnings 2

Module 2 Learning to Learn Title: Citizenship
Name of Tutor: Alphonse Mpeke
Student Number: u0405775

This work seeks to illustrate the importance of teaching Citizenship Education in British Schools. In this essay I am going to define and outline the origin of citizenship. I will also provide three arguments for and against the teaching of citizenship education. To help me do this, I will be using books, journals and websites. And at the end I will conclude this essay base on my findings. Citizenship is an ambiguous and complex term that can be hard to define, however it involves some of the following; its encourages people to get involve in community issues that affect their everyday lives, it ensure to promote a multi-cultural society, it enables people to develop the feeling of belongingness, it encourage Citizens to take social and moral responsibilities and it empower them to access the legal, political, Economical and Social Institutions that govern their lives. Nearly in all modern Societies, those that are regarded as Citizens must posses some sort of certifying documents such as passport, birth certificate or naturalisation. Most importantly, Citizens have a wide range of political, civil and social rights. However, such rights are balanced by certain obligations to both the Government and their Communities. (Castles, S and Davidson, A 2000). The origin of citizenship can be traced back to antiquity. For instance, during the reign of Menes, founder of the 1st dynasty –c, 2789-2669 BC, (Rohl, D. 1999).The Egyptian mystery system was like our modern Universities, a centre of organised culture where Citizens were taught the importance of moral disciplines like Grammar, Rhetoric, and Logic so as to purge away their irrational tendencies. This was to enable them to be better Citizens. Also the borders around Egypt were enforced in other to prevent illegal entry into the country and Circumcision was compulsory for anyone who wishes to study the mysteries. “No one among the Egyptians, either studied geometry, or investigated the secret

of Astronomy, unless circumcision had been undertaken.” (Origen n.d, cited in James 1954, p44). 1 After the bombing of the twin towers in America the British Government had paid great emphases on been active citizens, especially as radical Islam was on the raised. The idea of Active Citizenship, Social diversity, Community Cohesion and Community Involvement has gained Prominence in the media, political discussions and political practices within Britain in the last fifteen years. (Sage Journals 2009). Therefore an active citizen is one who ensures to get involved in issues that affect them and their Community. He or She must seek to promote Promote a multi-cultural Society so as to bring about social integration and Community cohesion. They should ensure that their democratic rights are protected and must make sure they excise their voting rights. And also they must seek to know how Government policies are implemented and how such policies affect their everyday lives. The main goal of the new traditional British values are to ensure that the Educational system informs Citizens of democratic procedures that promotes social diversity, equality, respect, tolerance and other democratic principles. Therefore it is very important Education for Citizenship is taught in Schools, as it will enable the Citizens to treat each others in a dignified and respectful manner regardless of their races, religions, sexualities or backgrounds. There are various arguments for the teaching of Citizenship Education, three of which are as follows: • To ensure Citizens rights are not infringed. • To promote a multi-cultural society.

It encourages Citizens to get involved in Community issues that affect them.

PROTECTION OF CITIZENS RIGHTS: Most people do not seem to understand how Government works and how policies affect their everyday lives. Many people in society

feel indifferent towards political decisions and therefore tend to distant themselves from decisions that affect them daily. 2 It is important that the democratic rights of the Citizens are never infringed upon; this enables democracy to function properly. A strong and transparent democracy will encourage people to develop an interest in politics as they get to know how Government function and how policies affect them. More over, this will empower and enable Citizens to access the Political, Social, Economical, and Legal Institutions that govern their everyday lives. PROMOTION OF A MULTI-CULTURAL SOCIETY: Citizenship Education

encourages social, religious, political, and sexual diversities. Werbner, P. 2000,Muslims in Britain Vol.4 Issue 3,p307-324.It is imperative that Citizens treat each others in dignified and respectful manner regardless of their race, religion, sex, sexuality, disability and back ground. Frazer, E. 2000, Political Studies Vol.48 Issue 1, p88. It helps Citizens to develop a feeling of belonging as they accept some of their Social and Moral responsibilities to both their Communities and the Nation as a whole. Also, it tend to encourage tolerance as Communities Cohesion takes place thereby enabling People to live together and to have the opportunity to understand other people’s culture and religion better. This will help to bring about integration. COMMUNITY INVOLVEMENT: One of the main goals of Citizenship Education is to Encourage the participation of Citizens in local Community issues that affect them. Since most people tend to distance themselves from decisions that affect them, either because they do not know how Government works, or how policies affect them. Citizenship Education ensures that people have the opportunity to get involve in issues that affect them and their Communities. This has given Citizens the chance to voice their concern and opinions in regards to important issues that may affect them and their Communities. problems such as guns, drugs, burglary etc. Example,

3 Furthermore, there are many arguments against the teaching of Citizenship Education. Three of which are:

Additional work load for Teachers. Protection of the Statuesque.

• Parents not approving the teaching of certain topics.

ADDITIONAL WORK LOAD: The introduction of Citizenship Education has brought more work load for some Teachers. Most Teachers were already over loaded with School work; they have to prepare for classes, mark Students works etc. Any addition to the already over loaded curriculum will bring extra work for them. PARENTS NOT APPROVING CERTAIN TOPICS: Some Parents may be unwilling to approve the teaching of certain topics to their Children because of religious reasons. For example, most Muslim parents will likely not to approve homosexuality and lesbianism to be taught to their Children. PROTECTION OF THE STATUESQUE: The Government might be tempted to try to mole the behaviour of Citizens just to protect the statuesque. This may prevent Citizens from expressing their Individualities or their opinions. For instance, because of what is term as “Political Correctness” Citizens might be afraid to use words like Deaf, Dumb and Blind so as not to offend the disable. I will like to conclude that Citizenship Education should be taught in conjunction with Parents doing their part at Home.


Casltes, S and Alastair, D (2000) Citizenship and Migration Routledge, 29 West 35Street New York, NY 10001, USA. Crick, B. 2007, British Journal of Education. Vol.55 Issue 3, p235-248. Frazer, E. 2000, Political Studies .Vol.48 Issue 1, p88. Holden, C. 2003, Pastoral Care in Education. Vol.21 Issue 3, p24-29. James, G.M. (1954) Stolen Legacy African American Images, USA. Kiwan, D. 2008, Oxford Review of Education. Vol.34 Issue 1, p39-58. Ross, A. 2007, British Journal of Education. Vol.55 Issue 3, p268-303. Rolh, D. (1999) Legend The Random House Group Limited. 20 Vauxhall Bridge Road, London SW4 2SA. Sage Journals (2009) Citizenship essay (online). Sage Home page. Available at WWW.Sage Journals .co.uk (Access on the 7th Dec.2009). Starkey, H. 2000, Curriculum Journal. Vol.11 Issue 1, p39-54. Werbner, P. 2000, Muslims in Britain. Vol. 4 Issue 3, p307-324.

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