Assessing the Effect of Civic Education on Civil Politics and Quality of Democracy

Panel Code
Closed Panel
In Person

Although the importance of civic education in improving quality of democracy is undisputed these days, how to develop an effective and appropriate educational program that suits the local context of each country remains in doubt. Many countries with well-established procedural democracy still face significant problems with their ineffective civic education curriculum, which limits the chance to develop the quality of democracy further. These countries tend to suffer from one of two shortcomings in civic education: in one case, they have the curriculum for civic education but no practices for ensuring sustained participation; or they have youth populations who are interested and engagement but no curriculum for institutionalizing their democratic participation. The former condition is evident in countries like South Korea which employs top-down approaches to educational reform, creating a focus on the curriculum itself rather than providing participatory programs where students can have field-oriented experiences. Latin American countries provide examples of the latter condition, where active commitment in politics is observable but generally performed as civil resistance such as student mobilizations or protests. While those demonstrations can be a form of political engagement, they act as temporary channels for political expressions rather than institutionalized political involvement. Hence, innovations in civic education are needed for fostering stronger democracies. The objective of this panel is to discuss possible and innovative ideas about alternative approaches for effective civic education by reflecting on both political philosophy but also various case studies of recently developed education programs around the world. This panel aims to link the topic of civic education through Plato’s Menexenus, to the analysis of the different types of civic education programs around the world, the effect of community-based learning on citizen politics (CBL-CP), the different institutional system and the role of education agents in civic education; case studies of innovative approaches especially in recently democratized states.