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Curricula for citizenship education

Foundation resource writing and publication from CCE initially drew on curricula designed by others, and subsequently researched needs reflected in

When researching the 1972 edition of Sione Comes to New Zealand the authors were guided by the then new New Zealand third and fourth form social studies curriculum with its emphasis on social control and social change. Although the authors were writing for New Zealand’s multicultural audiences, Samoan educators sought to use the text written through New Zealand eyes, in schools in Samoa.

In 1990, the New Zealand Parliamentary Service invited Press Gallery member Asia Pacific Economic News to meet the challenge of citizenship education. This led to APEN’s publication, in consultation with the Parliamentary Service, of the DecisionMaker series of Guides to Parliament. APEN and CCE, in seven post NZ general election editions, took account of successive social science curricula published by the NZ Ministry of Education. The curricula did not explicitly address citizenship but DecisionMaker editions did. Advocates for citizenship education made their voices heard, and early 21st century editions of the New Zealand social science curricula reflected professional and public concerns. The formation of the CCE, and support of the Commonwealth Foundation, gave greater emphasis to policies, resources, professional and institutional capacity building in support of citizenship education and relevant curricula.

In 2013 Tonga’s Minister of Education, at a steering meeting for Tongan citizenship .education chaired by Tonga’s Speaker, said Tongan values should underpin its approach. Media Council of Tonga representatives asked how the Ministry could assist media training. The education minister introduced the Tongan Society and Culture syllabus, class 1-8. The syllabus/curriculum featured citizenship topics – organised in four strands, social organisation, culture and heritage, places and environment, and resources, economy and power.

The syllabus includes information, communication, problem solving, technology, social and self-management skills – essential skills that media as well as other citizens need.  The learners also “develop a wide range of general and specific skills, including skills in research, critical and creative thinking, communication and social participation.”

Tonga students are guided to use information from an interview to sketch a map of a village in the past ten years, and to analyse visual sources and descriptions.

Allied tools, deepening understanding of strengths, weaknesses and challenges of a group by media and other learners, include

  • use interview questions to collect data
  • classify data using graph, table or other tools
  • record activities of a research in a log book
  • collect data from an interview
  • use headings to classify information
  • participate in planning, organising and implementing a group project
  • use a diagram to explain the ways which a group affects society
  • chose and explain a source that clearly explains the reasons which affect people in a society
  • organise and write a short essay to demonstrate the reasons which affect people in society
  • identify, explain and provide evidence about the guiding principles of democracy

Through the social sciences, the 2012 Tongan syllabus says, learners will “understand their rights, roles and responsibilities as members of a family and as citizens in a democratic society.”

The learners will also “explore the influence of different groups on society, including the contributions and achievements of both women and men.”

The syllabus declares about roles, processes, causes and effects: ”As man tries to make laws to regulate unity and peace in society, he must learn to give the authority and power to leaders and use democratic processes to make sure that the people of the society live in peace and harmony and in accordance with the rule of law.”

The syllabus emphasises relations between environment, resources and government.  It says education for sustainable development is inseparable from environmental education. It guides that traditionally Tongan people have lived a traditional lifestyle with practices that generally ensured sustainability of resource use. “However, modernisation has put considerable pressure on our natural resources, and on the environment, including the urban environment.”

The major outcome sought in Tonga’s class eight’s social organisation strand, to be taught over eight weeks in term one, is “the students can investigate, create, participate, communicate and reflect by examining the national groups established both by law and tradition, the way they are organised; their functions and responsibilities; the processes by which they make laws; and the ways each group affects society and vice versa”.

The major outcome sought in class seven social organisation is that the “ student can investigate, create, participate, communicate and reflect by identifying the process by which leadership roles are established in small and large groups, their differences in nature, ways it affects the society, and the ways in which individuals and groups help develop the community.”

An allied activity is to investigate the democratic processes used by the group.

  • Plan, organise and implement a Mock Election for Parliament in class.
  • Discuss a controversial issue currently debated by the Legislative Assembly
  • Demonstrate a discussion between a Legislative Committee and various groups in society.

Core content in class eight strand in social organisation about Tonga’s Legislative Assembly includes

  • Background and establishment
  • Method of selecting leaders and members
  • Chairperson of the House
  • Members of the House
    • Members and responsibilities
    • Prime Minister
    • Cabinet
    • People’s Representatives
    • Noble’s Representatives
      • Purpose of the group
      • Roles, processes, causes and effects
        • Main responsibilities
        • Work procedures
        • Make laws
        • Pass laws
          • Strengths, weaknesses and challenges

Another case study in class eight features a village that students the journalist and other learners record

  • Background of the village
  • Nature of village and geographic features
  • Importance of village
  • Changes and reasons for the changes
  • Ways by which people affect changes in the environment and society
  • Ways of recording the changes
  • Disadvantages and advantages of the changes in the village
  • Importance of the place to the people, government and various groups in society

The major outcome sought in the resources, economy and power strand is that “the student can interpret information about the nature, resources and responsibilities of the three main types (primary, secondary and tertiary) of industry, the contribution of each industry to the economy of Tonga and the role of government in the trade between Tonga and overseas countries.”

Curricula provide frameworks within which content plans can be made.

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