Statements from the UK: Brexit & Citizenship Education

We asked experts from the UK, about there Opinion on Brexit and Citizenship Education:

Bryony Hoskins, University of Roehampton, UK:

„One of the key aspects that the UK Brexit vote highlighted was the feeling particularly within the less wealthy groups in society that they were suffering unfairly due to austerity measures and had limited say in their lives. The Leave campaign backed by the media identified migrants as the underlying cause for their lack of access to services, changes to their local communities and their limited individual life chances. A vote to leave was said to be a vote to ‘take back control’ from the elite and to stop migration both from within and outside the EU.

The implications for Citizenship policy and practice are the need to reduce the feelings of exclusion from decision making processes by putting European Participatory and Active Citizenship back at the top of the policy agenda, so bringing the ordinary citizens back into the decision making processes at all levels of governance. All people regardless of their background need to be offered the chance to learn the skills to engage in the political processes and decision making. Global and European citizenship needs to be provided within adult education and citizenship education should become a part of vocational education and training and apprenticeships.

In addition, spaces need to be opened at schools, colleges, universities, at work and in local communities and local services for all people to be involved in decision making that affects their lives, and on using these spaces to promote a sense of belonging and shared ownership beyond national borders.“

For more details see Professor Hoskins blog


Dr Michalis Kakos, Leeds Beckett University, UK:

The legacy of the referendum

„Looking back at the events just before the British referendum and at those that followed the announcement of the result it seems to me that the decision of British citizens to leave the EU has not been the only cause of surprise and confusion. Similar are the feelings that have been generated towards the referendum itself, a process that has been marked by the death of an MP, the display of emotion-rich and rationality-poor debates and the deployment of argumentations the strength of which did not lie in what was said but in what it was implied. For democracy, this seems to have been a summer of bewilderment: apart from knowing very little about the route that lies ahead, citizens (particularly young ones, I suspect) seem to be standing undecided about whether the referendum has been a celebration of democracy or the coup de grâce to their interest in traditional politics. I think that particularly effective in generating such feelings and confusion have been the suggestions that the referendum has brought the ‘wrong’ result and that citizens should not be asked for their opinion in the first place.

The question about whether democratic processes can lead to bad decisions is not new. The downfall of Athenian democracy itself was largely the outcome of similar choices, one of which led to the disastrous Sicilian expedition. But the questions remain: Are there ‘wrong’ outcomes in democracy? And if so, what this means for democracy itself? I guess the answer to the first question depends on one’s standpoint – whether this is historic, current, political, social or other. What I think that is of significance here is to recognise that young citizens should be offered meaningful opportunities to engage with both questions and to come to terms with the uncertainty that accompanies democracy. Besides, democracy is not confined in procedures that allow majorities to make their choices but includes also (if not mainly) what precedes these procedures and what follows them. Democracy nests in dialogue: the dialogue that allows the testing of ideas and the review of plans before choices are made and the dialogue that leads to reconciliation and the sharing of responsibilities between majorities and minorities for the future that is to be constructed following such choices. I think that there is a moral, political and educational obligation for citizenship education to offer the forum and to allow British and European citizens to engage in such dialogue.“

Find out more about Dr Michalis Kakos here


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