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Journal article

Civics and citizenship education in New Zealand: a case for change?

Citizenship Community engagement Civics education New Zealand
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The 2013 Constitutional Advisory Panel recommendation for a national strategy for civics and citizenship education in schools, kura (Maori-medium schools) and communities provided the opportunity for an important conversation about building civic knowledge in Aotearoa New Zealand. This article explores possible next steps for implementing this recommendation. It is broken up into two parts: a case for change, and potential next steps.

This article explores both civics and citizenship education (collectively referred to as CCE). Civics education addresses the formal institutions and processes of civic life, such as voting in elections, while citizenship education addresses how people participate in society and how citizens interact with communities and societies. Knowledge and understanding of both civics and citizenship concepts constitutes broader ‘civic knowledge’.

We suggest some next steps that come together as a vision of coordination across a range of actors, such as schools, kura, communities, government, not-for-profit organisations, the media and the private sector. CCE could be made an explicit learning outcome in the New Zealand Curriculum. CCE can support existing priorities for numeracy and literacy, and has a natural home in social studies. Consequently, we argue that social studies should be bolstered to facilitate CCE, through changes such as improved, curated access to online resources and advisory support for educators. Though no panacea, CCE can serve as a means of securing the democratic character of New Zealand, and ensuring that all can be a part of shaping the future.

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