I have recently become an A-Level politics student, before that I thought I was very knowledgeable in the world of government and politics as I kept up with the news and had an active interest… I was miserably wrong. Politics is so much more that the media lets the average person know, which is why I am proposing that it is taught in PSHE and compass lessons from year 7.
Lets face it, everyone is affected by politics whether they like it or not, the government has this bad habit of controlling our lives and some of us don’t even understand the consequences their actions have on us. Our country is supposed to be a very democratic country but if you download the most recent IEU report (a report that lists democracy from best to worst) the UK’s number was around the 8.50 mark and rapidly dropped in the last year to 8.10, there is also evidence that we are operating under a dysfunctional democracy. This is a cause of concern for everyone, but did you know that before reading this? Probably not. Neither did I until becoming an A-level politics student.
Did you also know that the turnout in the last general election was not even 70%. How can our government have proper representation if not many of the voters will actually vote? Representation is incredibly important to this country as there are so many different ethnicities, cultures and sexualities in the UK, this should be represented in the House of Commons (the people who make all our decisions for us). I will admit, the levels of representation have gone up remarkably in the last decade but it still does not accurately represent our nation as a whole. This could be resolved with better participation from the country. This is where my argument comes in. How can people make informed, intelligent decisions if they don’t understand nor care about politics today. Studies show that the lowest voter turnout comes from the age range 18-24, this is because they have felt alienated from politics in their childhood, this is something that can be resolved if the basic foundations of politics and the different parties are taught in schools, a place where you (are supposed to) learn the basic foundations of life and adulthood.
Another reason to learn about politics is because it is in the interest of the government for the average person to be kept in the dark about political matters so that they can get away with things the public won’t understand. An example of this is when Boris Johnson encouraged the queen to prorogue the government so that he could have his bills passed first. This, my friends is corruption. Did we hear about it much on the news? No. did anyone seem to care? Not really. So my point is, if we understood the importance of situations like this we could hold the government accountable but because we can’t, they have a massive amount of power they should not have. And we. Cannot. Stop. Them. Knowledge is power, and right now, we are merely board pieces to their game.
If we began learning the basics of the government in year 7, like the different parties, what their beliefs are etc and then by year 11 we could understand the electoral system, have debates on whether or not reforms are needed or not and form our own opinions for preparation to when we come of voting age. Only small segments/topics each year in PSHE or compass are needed but it is so incredibly important that we understand even just a small part. This would more than likely create an inclusive, higher turnout which would increase participation and therefore the legitimacy of the party leaders ruling our country as they would be voted in by the majority of the population.
Norway is currently the most democratic country in the world with a score of 9.75. could this be due to the Norwegian education act that ‘promotes democracy and to educate children in democratic citizenship’? teachers are required by law to teach children how to live in a democratic society and this is partly why Norway is as high on the chart as it is. Everyone has the basic understandings of politics and won’t feel alienated from the political jargon they will hear as adults.
However, this is incredibly unlikely as the government would have to enforce this in the curriculum and as I said, it is only in the interest of the government to keep us in the dark, but if Mr Lockyer is reading this, do consider making the attempts to add politics into our curriculum as it would benefit us in the long run. Thank you for reading and remember if you want to annoy the government, learn politics.