What is Civic Education

In a democratic country, civic education is a branch of education that essentially teaches self-government. It is essential that citizens understand foundational subjects relating to democratization such as the constitution, fundamental rights, equality of citizens, governance, government structure, the separation of powers, etc. At the same time, civic education also informs a citizen of how they can interact with the government and its agencies, as well as a citizen’s responsibilities to the state and to their fellow citizens.

According a 2014 study, 75% of highly educated Pakistanis from public and private schools do not receive any formal civic education and over 88% will not be able to name a single teacher who has specialized in civic education in their institutions.

Civic Education

Why Focus on Accessible Civic Education?

Presently, there is a dire need to dispel the notion that democratization is an insidious foreign import. A key stumbling block to countless human rights initiatives and attempts at progressive change has been the fact that, outside of a select circle, the average citizenry does not recognize democratic principles and processes, equal citizenship, rights and protections under the constitution, and human-rights based discourse. These ideas are viewed with suspicion and are, at the same time, irrelevant for a large majority. Thus when human rights activists speak of the disregard for due process, or certain inalienable constitutional protections, the average citizen does not comprehend the meaning or importance of these terms, and certainly does not identify with them as being a part of their own national or religious identity. Consequently, initiatives mobilized using this language tend to fail. Ultimately, this knowledge and acceptance gap, which has gone undiagnosed and unaddressed, has also impaired democratic institutions such as the judiciary and the parliament in their ability to secure effective protection and advocacy for marginalized groups and create space for progressive and inclusive discourse.