The Instigator
Pro (for)
The Contender
Con (against)

"Citizenship education in schools is by far the best way to develop a better society. "

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Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 8/9/2018 Category: Education
Updated: 3 years ago Status: Debating Period
Viewed: 410 times Debate No: 117544
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DEBATE THAT: "Citizenship education in schools is by far the best way to develop a better society. "

PRO: I will be advocating that citizenship education in UK schools still retains far more spending power to change society for the better than its absence. After looking at context, I will be convincingly arguing that good teaching of citizenship means students derive benefit in three main areas: Character; Societal; Evolutionary. Execution is variable though. [6]

METHOD: It will seek to discredit the notions that good citizenship occurs osmotically by being somehow absorbed. Some schools ignore CE. This will be examined and a conclusion drawn to determine absolutely that any evolved society cannot forfeit CE in its secondary schools. Those schools that choose to rely on social media instead as levers of societal improvement are doing a huge disservice to their students. It will also seek to determine that those independent schools and academies who feel they are exempt from citizenship lessons are narcissistic, In that reliance on self-love and the constant myopic glamorising of adolescent achievement, No matter how tiny, Does not transmit to good deeds or understanding in the outside world.

For brevity, CE = "Citizenship Education" to be used on both sides.


This debate will be constrained by citizenship as a secondary school subject, Not by immigration laws, Advice, Training etc. Hence not:

* education intended to prepare non-citizens to become legally and socially accepted as citizens, BUT:

* a subject that is taught in schools, As an academic subject similar to politics or sociology.

An attempt to examine institutional context will be drawn but their motives or drivers are beyond the scope of the debate. The debate will not be drawn into the different characters of types of school.

For legal reasons individual schools will not be mentioned unless documents are in the public domain.


In 2002, "Citizenship" was introduced as a statutory subject in the English National Curriculum, Following the recommendations of the Crick Report in 1998. It is taught as part of the school curriculum to all pupils aged 11 - 16 years old in maintained schools in England. [1] Some schools can avoid it, Like private schools and academies. Inevitably it maps out pathways in human behaviour, Assumed wrongs in social science and the gains to be made in political science. Youth Parliaments are also organised by the Council for Education in World Citizenship, Which involves role-play and is based on an international problem. Other countries teaching CE include Ireland, France, Poland, Norway, Finland.


Ever since man evolved the arrowhead and the bow, He has sought to mark out a territory and then sought to defend it. Resulting human interactions have continued to focus on war, Divisions, National and cultural difference, Whilst building the structures for rules of governance like tribal houses, Assemblies and parliaments. How life might have been different with CE! Man needs rules it seems and sometimes rules of engagement.

As children grow up, They assume secondary traits of character. Undeniably the emergence of character traits enables educators to develop these, To equip students with the levers they need in the world. Erikson described these traits as "being from adults who do not take the long-term interests of the child to heart and so children will be more likely to form these secondary traits". [2] As each teenage year passes and children's emotional literacy increases and their capacity to make and evaluate emotional decisions and responses increases. The role of CE is not the preserve of the mind or the "inner", It is the preserve of the "outer" or what that child go on to observe and be.

Good teachers use topical issues to bring citizenship content to life and to help pupils develop key citizenship skills of research, Discussion and debate, As well as to represent the views of others, To think critically, Evaluate and reflect. Many responded critically with Crick as to whether CE should even be in schools. [6] My view is that as communication professionals, Teachers are best placed to deliver this but need to be aware that it is true "education" (being from the Latin 'educare' = to "draw out", Rather than a prescribed syllabus of content). Students' characters are enhanced through confronting issues of society and being forced to confront common decency and behaviour. These might focus on reminding about the disabled car parking spaces at the local supermarket to priority seats on the bus or tube, Through to the menace of litter and the onslaught of plastic in the environment.

Those schools who ignore CE and supposedly deliver in other ways like community service etc miss the boat in terms of the critical issues facing society. They unwittingly, Or perhaps wittingly, Rely on good breeding to do the rest. My contention is that character can, And must, Be improved within a values-based liberal education. CE can deliver on character.


Right now, Local city and community councils are calling for candidates to put themselves forward to represent local communities and to join a local political party. Representation locally is a natural evolution from the arrowhead we mentioned earlier to the meeting houses of post-Christian democracies.

As a species, We have evolved to debate, Preferring to take on consensus rather than conflict. CE has a role to play in preparing people to vote, To evaluate and ultimately, To represent. Between 1992 and 2005, Youth turnout at UK general elections declined by 28% and has hovered around the 40% mark ever since [3]. CE has a role to play in reversing this trend. Research tends to show that young people are switched on by issues rather than parties [3].

Schools can tackle sometimes polarising issues to help students critique themselves, Their communities or the planet. As mentioned under Character, Those schools not teaching CE risk forfeiting the gains to be made in emotional literacy, Understanding and application. They eschew all notion of civic duty and instead funnel students through mock after mock so that they are well-drilled for their ultimate, Subject-based examinations. No bad thing hey? But they don't always see the prism of dimensions possible in presenting their children to society. CE can deliver for society.


As higher-order animals, We are still able to evolve and it is a moot point whether we are yet fully-evolved. I would contend that until our young can engage meaningfully in society without wrecking it, That we are in fact NOT fully evolved. Social Media is in fact not social at all, It is anti-social. It is a digital voyeurism whose only sociability is people pressing the like button.

Citizenship has the ability to contribute massively to our cities and regions by building the character traits and completing the emotional literacy circle we so badly need to see in how we act and react with each other. Growing up has its responsibilities and it is sadly incumbent on schools and principals to ensure that these are confronted and delivered before our young people enter the outside world. Here they face the workplace, The responsibility of voting, Mortgages, Etc as well as finding out their own levers of power. Outside the chalk subjects, CE finally empowers students to engage with trained adults and visiting speakers, Enabling them to become fully-evolved participants. Social Media is a form of digital evolution, Not objective, Interpersonal, Behavioural evolution. It does not equip young people to debate, Engage with, Or know about their structures. It is a new digital meeting house devoid of real participation and engagement. With trolls and dropouts, It is largely unpoliced and is not what we should be upholding as anywhere near an education in real citizenship. Real education takes place in an atmosphere of respect, Cultural and interpersonal, Alongside dignity and discovery.

As evolving beings, Whether child or adult, Lifelong learning is never finished and CE begins to chart that roadmap of responsibility and commitment to each other along the journey of life.

As part of evolution, CE can deliver on evolution.


Knowing government is perhaps not every child's idea of a fun time, But instilling this is fundamental to developing respect for legal and proper avenues of participation. So, If children want to participate as active citizens then the routes are there. CE does not seek to dictate that children MUST participate. It is ultimately a form of empowerment. But with this empowerment comes responsibility, Which is central to growing up. The good schools create the space for this to flourish. The worst probably do not yet know what this space is. [5]

CE creates the environment for students to learn that dropping litter, Graffiti, Anti-social behaviour on and offline are unacceptable. In the digital environment, How we behave and operate in the offline space is perhaps our greatest challenge and relies on character traits, Evolutionary growth and societal interaction to see us through the 60 odd years left, After the formal statutory education ends. Our challenge is to make a better society not being content with one that is the same, Or getting worse. Effective CE does just that: it makes a better society, Evolved individuals and functional relationships. At a time when British crime and violent crime is surging [4] our time to grasp that fact is now. When taught well, CE delivers.

[1] https://en. Wikipedia. Org/wiki/Citizenship_education_(subject)

[2] https://en. Wikipedia. Org/wiki/Character_structure

[3] https://www. Ipsos. Com/i

[4] https://www. Bbc. Co. Uk/news/uk-42815

[5] https://tinyurl. Com/ycftg

[6] https://tinyurl. Com/y79l4kxe



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Debate Round No. 3
3 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 3 records.
Posted by Mystixis 3 years ago
I don't think reporting would work, This site is not that active
Posted by archiescat 3 years ago
Thanks. It's been reported. This is my first debate.
Posted by Mystixis 3 years ago
This would have been an interesting debate if not for the troll. . .
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