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Content for citizenship education

Content can reflect curricula – or other considerations.

In 2013, PICE short term outcome “four”, a first draft table of contents for a proposal to write and publish a Tonga Guide to Local Government was prepared. 2014 draft content revisions may take account of preferred curricula, such as responses to the 2012 Tongan Society and Culture Syllabus.

Revision could also take account of PICE short term outcome such as “two”, in which resources are created for the training and mentoring of journalists.

Ideas as to which topics and writers to include were built up through consultation with prospective participants.

The initial content of DecisionMaker Guides to New Zealand’s Parliament and Government were heavily influenced by budgetary considerations, in which many small and medium sized contributions were made by the majority of mainly Parliamentary and government agencies.

As experience and support grew, and larger allocations were made, there were consequent implications for content.

The advantage of larger allocations was more coherence.

The disadvantage of smaller allocations was less coherence.

The publisher and the New Zealand Department of Prime Minister and Cabinet recognised the challenge, and saw the potential in fostering a whole of government approach. However, the silo approach of many Parliamentary agencies made it hard for central agencies to use their authority in support of coherence. Nevertheless, partnership between publisher and central agencies increased the coherence, edition by edition. The publisher created sections, each one with its own level of coherence, adding up to a whole of government approach, emphasising in national composite volume editions

  • The big picture
  • How Parliament works
  • How Government works.

Local government editions also gained greater coherence by focus on the big picture, elected and executive sections. There have been editions grouping other citizenship education ideas, such as how law works, how consultation works, how participation works, and Pacific citizens. Sometimes effective communication is provided around a single piece of information – perhaps through a political or development journalism treatment. Over time, individual agencies such as the electoral commission ran awareness campaigns on ideas such as “enrol” or “vote” .

As more agencies hosted websites the need for particular information ranges changed. Parliamentary information and government information was offered to citizens through websites, and attention shifted to improving service delivery through e-government.

Training can also be improved to help particular groups of citizens, and intermediaries, to access services that are available. Media training illustrates the point.

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