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16 November, 2010

Pulling citizenship from the curriculum 'can't make sense', says CEO

In an interview with ePolitix today, Citizenship Foundation Chief Executive Andy Thornton explains why he thinks citizenship in schools is now more important than ever.

When asked if he was worried that citizenship education might be a victim of curriculum changes, he replied: 'We have heard indications that the new government's rationalisation of the curriculum will seek to relegate statutory citizenship education, and they certainly haven't denied it'.

'To remove this subject, and to do it now when our country needs capacity for citizenship to get through the momentous times of change we're in, well it just can't make sense.'

Citizenship education is crucial for a healthy democracy, he says. 'When everyone is equally capable of contributing to the negotiation and management of our common life then we are most stable, because their voices have been included, and social justice is more likely to prevail because no-one has been left out ... As I see it, social justice is the oxygen in our collective lifeblood and without it our societies become unhealthy'.

Although he agrees there is a lot of disparity in the way citizenship is taught in schools, Andy Thornton argues that research is showing that the competences, networks and professionalism are building, and that resources for teaching 'are now in people's hands'.

'The criminal thing,' he said, 'would be if it was pulled now.'

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