In contemporary times we the youth are a global citizen. It is essential to be aware of our duties and responsibilities while being a part of this united global community. Civic Duties help us to stay connected, be aware, informed, effective and responsible in decision making for the world. The world is sustained by citizens who have adequate knowledge, ability, and dispositions.
The vital part of civic responsibility is primary to the success of democracy and philanthropy. By upholding civic responsibility, citizens should ensure and follow certain democratic values or duties including justice, freedom, equality, cultural diversity, authority, privacy, property, participation, self-restraint, self-respect, truth, patriotism, human rights, civil rights, rule of law, tolerance, and mutual assistance. Schools must teach civic responsibility to their students as it will be the stepping stone to develop responsible citizens and active participants in both community and government.
However, in India, at the school level, Civic Education or Political Science is considered as an easy subject that can be fruitful to score well in the exams. It is not taken seriously in our country. The textbooks do not have the best content to change citizens into better ones nor is it taught in the way where it will serve this purpose to support our own country.
While in other countries, the schools follow very different approaches to provide the student with knowledge of their civic duties. Service-learning is among the best courses in many parts of the world as citizens take part in projects to support or serve the needs of other people. By getting hands-on experience, citizens learn the value and impact of giving to people and become active members of society.
For example, the schools in Japan are created to guide the social life of the child and to form an awareness of being a citizen of Japan. Japanese still believe that educational institutions have a civic mission and that education for great citizenship should be among the schools' top priority. The elementary curriculum includes teaching forms of citizenship education. Life Studies is taught in the fundamental two years of elementary schools, and later Social Studies from the third year of elementary schools are divided into the three areas of geography, history and civics, with, of course, connections between citizenship education and other subjects like literature, art, etc. Moral education supports a strong emphasis on social and moral responsibility, on abiding by-laws and rules, and on respect for family, respect for teachers and school staff, and self-awareness as a Japanese person and patriotic spirit among the students. Every child in Japan is expected to be self-motivated and disciplined, and to follow the Japanese culture and tradition.
On the other hand, these approaches are missing in the Indian education system and the inculcation of these ideas of democracy will only give us a better India in the upcoming years. Therefore I believe Education on civic duties in Indian schools is the need of the hour and there should be some kind of intervention in the current Indian education system. The new generation needs to know about all kinds of issues our country is facing from economic, religious to political problems faced by the community. Students should be made more aware of the increasing gap between rich and poor, tax policies, gender discrimination, reservation quota, exploitation, corruption, immigration issues, pollution, global warming, politically encouraged riots and protests that are happening in our country.
The Indian education system should opt for an alternative method to help students learn about the events occurring in their own country. Workshops and seminars should be conducted to spread wider awareness. Guest lecturers can also speak in the schools on a weekly or monthly basis. Observation of the court and learning the workings of the judicial system also ought to be required as a part of their civic education. Volunteering is another great method for students to experience their civic responsibility, which involves the giving of time or labour without the expectation of monetary perks. It becomes our social responsibility to volunteer through places of worships, animal shelters, NGO’s, or food banks. Volunteering allows citizens the opportunity to put their skills in the right direction by helping those in need of assistance. The schools should also provide a platform for students to collaborate in action research projects, where they investigate and address an issue related to their communities, encouraging them to be problem-solvers and risk-takers.
Thus if India needs to develop a strong and responsible democracy and a prosperous and growing economy into the next century, it must be prepared to address and respond to a well-educated population as the key to our future. The best way to achieve the desired goal is to must understand and accept the responsibilities and obligations of citizenship through an educational system for the students and the future leaders of the country.
Aashika Jain has done her graduation from I.P College for women, University of Delhi. She has a keen interest in Global Journalism and Comparative studies.
The article reflects the opinion of the author and not necessarily the views of the Organisation.