Civics and Citizenship Education

Civics and Citizenship Education seeks to:

  • promote knowledge and understanding of Australia's system of government amongst Australian students
  • equip Australian students with the skills, attitudes, values and dispositions to fully participate in the civic life of their communities and the nation

All States and Territories have agreed on the importance of the achievement of the goals of the Civics and Citizenship Education programme, and have collaborated in its implementation across the nation.

Background

A report by the Civics Expert Group in 1994, entitled Whereas the people… outlined the findings of a community consultation into the level and extent of civic knowledge generally in the Australian community. The Group reported that amongst the submissions they received in every State and Territory from educators, Education Ministers, parents associations and the general public, was an encouraging desire to know more about Australia's political institutions and its system of government.

A national approach

The 2008 Melbourne Declaration on Educational Goals for Young Australians promotes quality education in Australian schools and is the guiding document for the development of the Australian Curriculum. Goal 2 of the Declaration is: "all young Australians become successful learners, confident and creative individuals, and active and informed citizens."

All States and Territories have recognised that civics and citizenship education is central to effective schooling and have incorporated civics and citizenship education into their curriculum documents and school practices.

Australian Curriculum

The Civics and Citizenship curriculum will be developed in Phase 3 of the development of the Australian Curriculum. This curriculum 'will support students to relate well to others and foster an understanding of Australian society, citizenship and national values including through the study of civics and citizenship'.

Resources in the classroom

The Discovering Democracy School Materials Project Schools oversaw the development of the Discovering Democracy Units for primary and secondary schools. The materials were distributed to every Australian school in 1998, and, along with the Discovering Democracy Australian Readers, form the basis of the Civics and Citizenship education programmes in Australian schools.

The Discovering Democracy Units assist teachers to engage students in Civics and Citizenship education, and are organised around four central themes.

  • Should the People Rule?
  • Law
  • Democratic Struggles
  • Men and Women in Political Life

Each theme is addressed in a different fashion using content appropriate to the designated level of schooling - lower secondary, middle secondary, upper primary and upper secondary.