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Does civic education for young people increase political participation? A systematic review

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This paper uses established systematic and transparent methods to review the evidence for the effect of civic education on young people’s normative political participation. Extensive electronic searches were undertaken of social science and education databases. The searches yielded 6890 titles; both authors independently screened titles and abstracts to apply predefined inclusion criteria. Nine studies were included in the review. Given the heterogeneity of these studies, statistical pooling was not possible and a narrative analysis has been performed. The results indicate little evidence for civic education having a discernible or direct effect on voting or voter registration/enrolment. Some support was found for civic education increasing activities of political expression (e.g. signing a petition). The implications for policy and future research are discussed.
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... Research (see Manning & Edwards, 2014;Reichert & Print, 2018) shows that schooling contributes to a small share in the individuals' willingness to participate in social and political action. Schooling tends to contribute to the individuals' willingness to actively participate in society and politics by providing them with formal civics learning within their curriculum (Reichert & Print, 2018). ...
... Consequently, this study looked at the science syllabi of all four subjects taught at secondary level, the teaching methods that teachers opt for, and the challenges teachers face when teaching for scientific citizenship. Manning & Edwards (2014) and Reichert & Print (2018) show that schooling contributes to a small share in the individuals' ability and willingness to participate in social and political action. Results obtained are similar to an extent that the subject content and assessment practices present in each science syllabus focus mainly on increasing the students' level of awareness. ...
... However, it fails to equip them with the skills needed to act on that awareness and challenge those who try to push an agenda that might be of a detriment to themselves or society in general. Similar to what is suggested in the literature (see Manning & Edwards, 2014;Reichert & Print, 2018), it can be concluded that school science ...
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In Malta young people can exert their right to vote in the local council, National, and European elections at the age of 16. This decision raised the question of whether young individuals are prepared to make an informed decision on issues that have an impact on individual lives and society (ToM, 2017). Most of the issues that are highly debateable in society are scientific in nature. This study addresses whether, upon completing compulsory education, young people can deal with Socio-Scientific Issues and Science in Society. This study probed whether the science syllabi are providing students with the scientific foundations needed to actively deal with controversial science-based issues in society (Ratcliffe, 2003). A mixed methodology was used consisting of: a closed-ended questionnaire distributed among sixth form students; interviews with Education Officers; focus group interviews with science teachers; and review of the secondary level science syllabi. The results indicate that on completing compulsory education, young individuals are not ready to actively deal with socio-scientific issues and science in society as soon as they leave secondary school even though they feel and believe that they are. The content of the science syllabi refers mainly to awareness and do not delve significantly into civic scientific literacy, active participation, and socio-political participation, but these are left to the teachers’ discretion whether to include them or not.
... Recent reviews of the non-experimental literature come to different conclusions. Manning and Edwards (2014) find few connections between civic education and voter participation, but Campbell (2019) is more sanguine. In both cases, the authors acknowledge that there is little rigorously identified evidence on civic skills, making it difficult to draw a final conclusion. ...
... Gains in scores on civics-related AP tests actually favor boys, rather than girls, which runs counter to the pattern in voting, and is likely due to boys having a very low counterfactual rate of scoring at least a 3 on one of these APs in the first place. The lack of a parallel between voting gains and enrollment and scores in civics-oriented APs lines up with the past literature that shows few links between formal civics curricula and civic participation (Manning and Edwards, 2014;Weinschenk and Dawes, 2021). ...
... Only a handful of systematic reviews have been created on the topic of electoral geography, and the topic has usually been connected with other topics such as political brands (Nielsen 2017), disability (Virendrakumar et al. 2018), or education (Manning and Edwards 2014). A systematic review therefore is necessary in order to discover and make systematic the knowledge about the geography of electoral results in Czechia and Slovakia since 1989. ...
Article
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This article reviews the field of electoral geography in Czechia and Slovakia. It systematically analyses selected publications to identify the most and least frequently researched topics, theories, and methods. Most of the analyzed studies strived to determine the factors underlying the uneven geographical distribution of election results. Issues of turnout and geographical representation were the least common. The cleavage theory was the most frequently applied theoretical approach, although most studies did not apply any theory. Only one study used the qualitative methodology, whereas the rest relied on quantitative methods. Most often, analyses were performed at the scale of districts and municipalities. The article identifies possible directions for future research in the electoral geography of Czechia and Slovakia.
... Yet, this country is bedevilled with the youth disengagement from voting and electoral obligations expected of the citizens (Print, 2007). This perceived participation conundrum was called 'civics deficit' by Manning and Edwards (2014). Political education in Australia is offered in the form of 'Civics and Citizenship Education-(CCE)'. ...
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Globally, there is a downward trend in youths’ political interest and participation in the learning of political education in their school curricula as a measure to combat the apparent dangers posed by the declining young citizens’ participation in the political processes.This study therefore investigated political education as a determinant of university students’ political participation in the Province of the Eastern Cape, South Africa. The study employed a mixed methods design. Using the probability sampling technique, a sample of 375 participants was randomly selected from one university in the Eastern Cape Province while semi-structured interviews were conducted among five (5) purposively selected members of the same university’s Student Representative Council (SRC) executive committee. Simple descriptive statistics such as frequency counts and percentages were used to summarize all categories of variables; while Pearson correlation statistics, Chi-square and Ordinary least square regression were used to examine the relationship between dependent and independent variables at a 95percent confidence interval. Alpha values less than 0.05 were considered to be statistically significant. Thematic content analysis was performed on the qualitative data. The quantitative analysis revealed that students’ level of political awareness was high; 98.1percent of them were aware of their rights to vote and be voted for. Students’ political judgment was positively correlated with participation in campus (r =0.182) and national politics (r = 0.030) respectively. Most of the students agreed to take part in the 2018 SRC (78.8percent) and 2019 national elections (77.9percent) respectively. Political interest was significantly correlated with participation in campus (r = 0.375) and national politics (r =0. 404). The findings from the multivariate analysis showed that political interest (<0.001), parents’ political involvement (<0.001) and year of study (<0.001) were the significant determinants of students’ participation in politics. The qualitative findings also showed that there was a positive relationship between political education and students’ participation in politics. Since political interest and family are element and agent of political education respectively, it is concluded that political education is to a large extent a determinant of university students’ political participation. It is recommended that the universities, the Department of Higher Education and Training (DHET) and other stakeholders should do a thorough review of the university education curricula and programmes to ensure that political education is adequately accommodated and taken care of in a way that would increase students’ interest, awareness and participation in politics. When this is amply done, students’ cognitive skills and capacities would be enhanced to increase their participation in the political processes in South Africa.
... This is especially true for the path model, which partly relies on mere correlational observations. Third, the observed effects were rather small, similar to others studies which look at the effects of civic educational initiatives (see Manning & Edwards, 2014). This might be due to the fact that our project was comparably short and there is reason to believe that longer projects might produce larger effects (Nicosia et al., 2014). ...
Article
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Citizen science research has been rapidly expanding in the past years and has become a popular approach in youth education. We investigated key drivers of youth participation in a citizen social science school project and the effects of participation on scientific and topic-related (i.e., political) interest and efficacy. Findings suggest that females, more politically and scientifically interested and more scientifically efficacious adolescents were more motivated to learn from the project. Science efficacy was also positively related to external reward motivation (i.e., winning an award). Both learning and external reward motivation increased the likelihood of participation. Pre- and post-measurement further indicated that participation in the project slightly increased science interest, but not science efficacy. However, it did increase both political interest and efficacy. Furthermore, our data revealed a decrease in science efficacy and interest in those who did not participate in the project, indicating an increasing gap in adolescents’ scientific involvement.
... Students on the liberal arts curriculum track must take more than twice as many social studies and civics courses as students on the natural sciences curriculum track. The former group may therefore have more opportunities to increase their knowledge about government and society (e.g., governmental systems, principles of democracy, civic life, national identity, diversity, etc.) and discuss civic and political issues in classes (Manning & Edwards, 2014). "Liberal arts education may mold students toward broad concerns for the community and civic life which may be precursors to the development of PSM and an interest in public service" (Bright, 2016, p. 287). ...
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