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Investing in citizenship education

Anthony HaasIt is time for private and public sector organisations with a commitment to comprehensive citizenship education to join forces says the Director of the Centre for Citizenship Education (CCE), Anthony Haas.

On 9 May I was on RNZ “nine till noon” discussing citizenship education with Katherine Ryan, and addressed some of the points in this statement. http://www.radionz.co.nz/national/programmes/ninetonoon/audio/2554494/teaching-civics-in-schools-to-counter-citizen-apathy.asx

CCE has been strengthened in its commitment by the April recommendations of the NZ Parliament’s justice and electoral select committee, chaired by National MP Scott Simpson, http://www.tonganz.net/home/civics-education-to-increase-voter-turnout/

Section 6(f) of the Electoral Act states that the Electoral Commission has the power to “request advice, assistance, and information from any government department”. Given this power, and the commission’s statutory role in providing education programmes, the select committee recommends ‘that the commission liaise with the Ministry of Education on incorporating ongoing comprehensive civics education into the New Zealand curriculum.”

The Simpson committee recommends the feasibility includes “resourcing implications”.

CCE, which has published multi-media editions of the DecisionMaker Guide to Parliament and Government with multi party support, briefed the justice and electoral committee when Tim Barnett, now general secretary of the Labour Party was chair. We have since been party to a number of discussions on citizenship education policy, resource, professional and institutional development – including plans for publishing our suite of citizenship education DecisionMaker Guides 2013 -2014 says Anthony Haas

Individuals and institutions may be interested in being identified with and supporting such an approach. CCE could contribute experience and publish for more effective citizenship education with compatible other project partners.

Senior officials have advised that the time has come for CCE, a charitable trust, to fund raise and obtain the wider commitment of others for the development of its secretariat as well as projects.

Anthony Haas is also an associate member of the Parliamentary Press Gallery, representing Asia Pacific Economic News which published the first DecisionMaker Guides in 1990 in consultation with Parliamentary Service and funding, information and circulation support from the majority of Parliamentary and government agencies.

CCE, updated 15 May 2013