Constitutional literacy in Africa: challenges and prospects

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The issue of constitutional literacy has attracted very little attention in scholarship on constitutionalism in Africa. This is not surprising, because the early constitutions were virtually imposed by the departing colonial powers and perceived as alien, not only by the ordinary citizens but also the new leaders, who had little knowledge or experience of constitutional governance. Have the new generation of ‘made-in-Africa’ constitutions changed the state of constitutional literacy on the continent? In addressing this question, the paper examines the concept of constitutional literacy and, using the example of South Africa, considers ways in which it could be promoted. The paper also considers the challenges to promoting constitutional literacy. It concludes by underlining the fact that strengthening the democratic constitutional foundations laid in the 1990s, foundations increasingly under threat today, requires a comprehensive programme of constitutional education, with a focus on the poor and other marginalised groups in society. Without knowledge and awareness of constitutional rights, citizens will not be able to vindicate their rights or challenge any violation of them.

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... For marginalized women to be able to make informed decisions, claim their rights and participate in local governance they must be knowledgeable about the legal and constitutional framework. According to Fombad (2018), constitutional literacy empowers the ordinary citizen and breaks the barriers of privilege and exclusion, domination and marginalization. Raising awareness on constitutional provisions on women's rights strategies employed in the project resulted in women in Gwanda central to be able to identify some constitutional violations. ...
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The Marshall-Brennan Constitutional Literacy Project is the leading effort in American legal education to mobilize law students to teach high school students about the Constitution and Bill of Rights. This Article traces the development of the project from its beginnings in the 1990s at American University Washington College of Law to its unexpected but dramatic expansion across the country to eighteen law schools today. The Article explains the Marshall-Brennan curriculum, which focuses on Supreme Court decisions addressing the rights of America's student population in school and in the criminal justice process, and canvasses the essential operational ingredients of Marshall-Brennan chapters thriv-ing all over America. It argues that this project provides functional mean-ing to the intellectual movement in constitutional law to define a demo-cratic or popular constitutionalism, offering law schools and their stu-dents and professors an excellent, practical way to promote constitutional values in their local communities. It further posits that the project offers one compelling answer to the growing cynicism about law schools, which are being vilified for being internally exploitative, socially useless, intellectually self-referential, and indifferent to the community. Finally, the Article contends that, in the post-Fisher v. University of Texas age of sharply controlled affirmative action, the project is the most effective pipeline strategy in the land for making a law school education a tangible choice and viable prospect for talented and disadvantaged high school students from all backgrounds.
The Impact of Civic Education on Political Participation in the Sissala East District of the Upper West Region of Ghana' (2016) 6(8) Public Policy and Administration Research
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