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May 12, 2008 | by  | in News |
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Electoral Enrolment Centre calls for civic education

The Electoral Enrolment Centre survey has shown that New Zealanders have little knowledge of the New Zealand political system.

The survey conducted by the Centre shows that 53 per cent of young people were not aware that an election would be taking place this year. 55 per cent of the 524 survey participants were categorized as Pacific people, 45 per cent were of Asian ethnicity and the remaining 41 per cent was Maori.

The Centre is pushing for civic and citizenship education in schooling to give New Zealand children a more thorough understanding of political systems. Civic education involves leaning about the formal systems, institutions and concepts of power and democracy. Citizenship education would involve learning about “personal rights and responsibilities of citizens in a democratic society.”

In a New Zealand, context the education would involve learning about major social, political and economic shifts particularly in the Asia- Pacific region. It would also “encompass Treaty of Waitangi and colonisation, the Land Wars, the important immigrant waves, the establishment of the welfare state, the impact of World Wars, period of benign centralism, Maori renaissance, major economic changes of 1980s and 1990s, et cetera.”

This type of education in the curriculum has had success in Australia, and the idea is supported by both the Green and United Future Parties.

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