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Electronic Platform for Adult Learning in Europe



Citizenship Education: Participation and Responsibility

Language: EN

Citizenship can be defined as the action of being an ideal member of society. The characteristics of this ideal member include being a participant, being knowledgeable, being sensitive to social problems, develop a solutions by analyzing problems and being responsible. Citizenship education, in the most general sense, is to prepare all individuals in the society for democratic life, including children, young people and adults. Therefore, to exhibit democratic attitudes and behaviors with a sense of citizenship is closely related to the citizenship education. On the other hand, the development of a democratic culture and the formation of a democratic society is possible with citizenship education.

The contribution of persons who know their individual and political rights in the formation of democratic societies cannot be denied. In this sense, the aim of citizenship education is to educate the citizens of the future. In other words, the aim is to train “good” citizens. At this point, the idea of democracy is a guide; therefore it is important to include democracy culture and respect for others in the whole school life. The democratic attitudes and behaviors in school life play a leading role in being a responsible and participative citizen in adulthood.

One of the criteria of being adulthood or adult is social adulthood. Social adultness refers to the individual's existence in society. According to this, for example, being in the working life, being a member of social groups and being a voter are among the criteria of social adulthood. It is the necessity of the participative citizenship that the individual takes place in the society and bears responsibility for the society in which he/she lives. The responsible citizen is a citizen who is responsible not only for his or her own life but also for the society and who freely decides. According to this, it is important for adults to be sensitive to social events and to have a critical view.

Political participation is one of the most important issues in citizenship education. For the development of political culture, training young people who are adults of the future is part of citizenship education. Being sensitive to social and political problems requires criticism, thinking, and developing a solution to problems. On the other hand, citizenship education is inclusive, including the concepts of human rights, equality, justice, respect, responsibility and reliability.

In today's world, communication instruments are increasing day by day and the world is getting smaller. This has made every person responsible not only to the society he/she lives in but also to the whole world. This responsibility is defined as global citizenship and becomes more apparent than in the past through communication opportunities. From this point, global citizenship education requires a lifelong perspective, not only for children and young people, but also for adults. Being a participative and responsible citizen should be considered in a holistic approach that continues throughout the education life. Therefore citizenship education has an important place in the field of lifelong learning.


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  • Brian Caul's picture
    We represent CRAICNI community interest company. This acronym stands for Celebrate Respect, Appreciate Inclusion in Communities in Northern Ireland.
    It is our main strength that nearly all our trainers in cultural awareness are from ethnic minority backgrounds. We are also building a new online course which, after September 2020, will be accessible across the whole of Europe. Our partners are from Italy, Greece, Turkey and Scotland.
    It is essential to us that everyone, whether resident or newcomers, gets the chance to develop skills of citizenship. As a society emerging from serious internal conflict, it is vital that citizens have a deep belief that. through consensus, they can change society for the betterment of all. We encourage  indigenous residents to have the courage to confront and challenge discrimination, bigotry and hatred. It would also be ideal if some could emerge as insightful political leaders who can offer progressive and respectful leadership. Knowing one's rights and entitlements, and the nature of social structures, is fundamentally important for newcomers to find pathways in their new culture. Social communication skills are also crucial to facilitate mutual respect and true celebration of diversity.
    Having experienced forty years of corrosive and damaging conflict, we are under no illusions about the need for patient progress, and everyone being prepared to listen to alternative points of view with openness and respect.
    We thoroughly agree that such democratic values need to be embedded in our educational systems to enable future generations to have positive visions of a shared society.
    It is good that this topic is being discussed by EPALE.
    Dr. Brian Caul