The purpose of any practical education is to illuminate and emancipate the learners involved, and citizenship education strives to do the same.
Currently, Nigeria is dealing with the terrible effects of low levels of civic consciousness and a general sense of humanity, and these effects can be reduced through widespread citizenship education in Nigeria.
So, what is citizenship education in Nigeria and how can the knowledge of citizenship education benefit the people living in Nigeria?
Definition of Citizenship Education in Nigeria
Citizenship education, otherwise known as civic education in Nigeria, instills practical and effective knowledge and skills in people.
It helps the beneficiaries of the educational process to understand, challenge and engage with the current democratic society; which includes politics, civil society, the current state of affairs, the media, the entire society, and the law.
One of the first steps in liberating the people of a country through citizenship education is the educational system.
Education should help both the young and old to become active citizens or improve their citizenship stances. Once they understand what their roles are within the country, they can then look for ways or means to improve themselves.
Types of Citizenship Education in Nigeria
Citizenship education is studied as civic education in the Nigerian school curriculum.
The types that are taught in Nigerian schools are:
1. Single Issue Politics and Young Citizens
Teachers use this method to teach citizenship education to students.
They find a cause that the students can relate to, and also provide opportunities for practical programs and projects to demonstrate the cause and educate students about the solutions.
Some of the activities that can be demonstrated using single-issue politics as an educational guide for citizenship education in Nigeria are:
- Cleaning of public places like libraries, roads and local government buildings
- Visiting orphanages with food and clothes donations that was sourced amongst the students
- Involving the students in fundraising programs geared towards a cause.
2. Democracy and Rights:
Education on democracy and rights in schools is a critical component of a comprehensive citizenship education program.
Students are enlightened about the benefits of citizenship education through different examples, in depth information about the state of government including democracies and authoritarian government structures.
Students are usually taught using historical examples of democracy in action, such as the civil rights, women’s rights, freedom of speech, and anti-war movements, among others. A throwback to historical types will help them understand the ugliness of war and national unrest.
Benefits of Citizenship Education in Nigeria
The general benefits of citizenship education in Nigeria are:
- It makes people show concern for the welfare and dignity of others– When people are aware of the weight of their actions and the repercussions of making certain decisions, they will begin to show more empathy.
- Support the rights and freedoms of every individual – An understanding of civic duties and responsibilities helps people learn to accept others for who they are, and appreciate each individual’s contribution to society more.
- Help maintain law and order – one of the aims of Citizenship education in Nigeria is to help the people to understand the importance of peace and prosperity. When people learn about the virtues of togetherness, they begin to strive for perfect law and order.
- Understand the main structure and functions of the governments – Citizenship education gives the people a voice. It enables them to know about the state of the government and the positive contributions they can make, by developing the knowledge and experience they need to claim their rights, fight for collective benefits and understand their social responsibilities.
- Seek community development and advancement through active, democratic participation – It helps the people to ask the right questions and authorities, make collective plans on societal improvements, work together towards common goals and eventually achieve an optimum state of affairs within the country.
- Understand the problems of international relations – Nigeria is a country notorious for accruing debts from other countries. Citizenship education strives to arm the nation with the right information regarding the economy and how it can be improved. If everyone participates in the growth of the economy, funds will be monitored and well managed, infrastructures will be put in place and regular maintenance of the nation will be carried out.
- Support rational thought communication, and action regarding social problems – If everyone understands the workings of civic education and duties, bias towards general social issues will reduce.
- Take responsibility for your own personal development and obligations – There is a popular saying that goes, “it takes an entire village to raise a child”, and the saying also holds true for a nation’s development. Everyone will be tasked with the nation’s growth, and continually strive to improve themselves and gain new skills.
- Help and respect everybody – Through constant citizenship education, people learn to respect, help and care for each other because they have the required understanding of how humanity should be.
- Nurture the development of their children as future citizens – The current social state of affairs in Nigeria is appalling. There is a widespread disregard of cultural values, indecency, and disregard of hard work. Civic education enlightens people and helps them understand that a nation can only grow if its citizens are involved.
Roles of Citizenship Education in Nigeria
- Equality: Opportunities and the people will be in line in a country that has an understanding of true citizenship.
- Human rights and democracy: The rights of everyone involved in a nation will be unhindered.
- Freedom of speech: It empowers each person with a voice. They are free to express their grievances, happiness, and expectations of the current government without restrictions.
- Political truth and fairness: When everyone is aware of their value to the society, the decision-making process and management of the nation will be transparent and open.
- Economic knowledge: The disbursement and management of funds will be public knowledge, and no parts will be left undeveloped.
- Historical and sociological knowledge: We usually have to look back in time to catch our errors and plan a better future.
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