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24 January, 2005

Citizenship Days: truly engaging or just a gimmick?

The new proposed Citizenship Day received wide but mixed coverage when it was announced by the Home Office last week.

The new initiative made it to the front pages of the Telegraph and Guardian last Thursday, with a main article and comments in the Mirror, Independent, the BBC, and the Sun.

In response to a number of requests for comments, Tony Breslin, Chief Executive of the Citizenship Foundation, said:

'If these [citizenship days] make some small contribution to the citizenship education process and political engagement of our young people, let's try them.

'But we all know that the crises around political apathy and social exclusion cannot be resolved by single steps such as these.

'And the risk is that they might be perceived as gimmicks, reducing Citizenship merely to issues of status, nationality and passport, when active, effective, inclusive Citizenship is so much more.'

Citizenship Days could be 'an opportunity to focus on particular common values, open civic buildings and hold exhibitions', he told the Telegraph. 'We would want to see it as something that really reaches all communities and people of all ages.'

Tony Breslin was also interviewed by Simon Mayo on Radio 5 Live last Thursday, where he mentioned the importance of political education, on BBC Radio Scotland and on ITV's 'The Week' on Sunday. Share

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