Citizenship education is important say young people
On May 12th, the Citizenship Foundation held a press roundtable entitled 'In Search of the Youth Vote' in Westminster. When asked whether Citizenship education, a key strand of which is political literacy, should be taught in schools, all of the young people in attendance were firmly in favour.
The roundtable, chaired by Michael Brunson, ex-ITN political news editor and trustee of the Citizenship Foundation, enabled a wide variety of contributions from a number of young people and organisations involved in the field of politics, political education and community projects. Among the attendees were young people at or approaching voting age, including those that were engaged with national politics and those that were not. They included:
Will Smith (18) chair of the Youth Advisory Committee, Lewisham and candidate in the Young Mayor election 2004
Jessica Lever (17) pupil from Watford Girls Grammar who addressed the Conservative Party Conference 2004
Liz Williams (17) winner of the Citizenship Foundation's National Political Journalism Competition 2004
Vanessa Moreno (18) member of Youth Act group, focusing on sexual crime, Southwark
Nicola Mclean (17) member of Lambeth Youth Council + Youth Act Advisory Group
Tom Etheridge (15) Robert Mays School National Youth Parliament Competition (Prime Minister)/National Political Journalism entrant 2005
Will Bright (14) - Robert Mays School National Youth Parliament Competition entrant 2005
The young people brought not only their views to the table but also those of their peers at school, college or youth groups.
The organisations in attendance included:
Chris Rowe, youth worker and 'Your Party' election candidate
Fiona Booth, education director, Hansard Society: http://www.hansard-society.org.uk/;
Helen Lim, project officer, Post 16 Citizenship Development Programme, LSDA
Yemi Akinfenwa, youth worker, Youth Act, leading the award winning Stonebridge Road Estate group
Andre Schott, Fitzrovia Youth in Action http://www.youth-action.org.uk/network/fitzrovia.html
Faizal Hakim, Operation Black Vote: www.obv.org.uk
Tony Breslin, chief executive, Citizenship Foundation
Carrie Supple, manager, Youth Act, at the Citizenship Foundation
The overall feeling was that young people are interested, but they do not necessarily feel listened to. And the recent election campaign had not helped in this respect. However, they did feel that they could make a difference in their local communities and many of them are doing so.
Journalists who confirmed their attendance included Newsround, the Mirror Group, the Telegraph, Shabaab, the Guardian and Radio One.