Democratic Citizenship Education and the Challenges Essay

One of the elements of democratic citizenship is the freedom of expression of oneself, the right to education and to choose representatives in governments, among others. The freedom of expression of oneself is a legacy of the free world. It is not a philosophy waiting to be proven; but has been proven to be the most important engine with education in overcoming the barriers and challenges to democracy itself. This thesis therefore will serve to highlight four major areas of this concern. A challenge in literal means a demanding situation that requires some kind of action. Challenges to democracy means problems that comes while ensuring a democratic set up in the country. It discusses the issues that need to be solved to sustain democracy in the country. Some of these challenges are deepening democracy, illiteracy, expansion and corruption and inefficiency. Democracies need active, informed and responsible citizens; citizens who are willing and able to take responsibility for themselves and their communities and contribute to the political process. These are the four challenges that democracy has on Citizenship education, but these challenges can and must overcome with the help of democratic citizenship education. Democratic Citizenship Education is simply legal status in a country; it is also demands becoming informed about issues that affect you as an individual and participating with others in determine how society will resolve those challenges that were discussed before. Citizens are aware of these challenges but don’t know how to overcome these challenges because the problem lies in the people of our society that is at the head of the country. Democratic Citizenship Education will help citizens to be responsive, knowledgeable, and active in their community and becomes a global citizen. Democratic Citizenship Education helps citizens to know their rights and responsibilities as a citizen

Deepening democracy is faced by every democracy in one form or another. This involves strengthening of the institutions and practices of democracy. This should happen in such a way that people can realize their expectations of democracy. But ordinary people have different expectations from democracy in different societies. To improve this challenge education should be provided to all citizens, where a literate society is the most important resource for a country. Education brings qualitative changes in the people and enables them to use better tools and knowledge. It would bring awareness of
political rights of a person. Secondly fundamental rights, is provided by the constitution ensure that every citizen rights are protected and secure. These rights cannot be taken away by any government. It would increase the faith of the people in the constitution. Finally the freedom of press has the freedom to form the public opinion by giving views and news on the issues facing the country. It would make awareness to the people what is happening in the society.

Democracy which postulates enlightment is by and large blessing and illiteracy which implies ignorance is a menace. However the prime argument is that illiteracy is the root cause of many problems including poverty, ignorance and disorder. The existence of illiteracy as a festering problem clearly mocks the democratic values that society claims to champion the world. The effects of illiteracy on the individual and collective lives of communities with low literacy rates, points to the atmosphere of uncertainty and distrust that ultimately erode the people’s confidence in the ability of democracy to protect and safeguard human security. Illiteracy can affect a society especially in socio-economic aspect with high illiteracy rate job opportunities that requires higher learning becomes rare. Illiteracy keeps people mired in the cycle of poverty which contributes to their continued marginalization. It prevents an individual from active participation the labour force.

This affects education in a huge way because if a child does not have the ability to read and write throughout their education then they will not be able to go to a college in the future perhaps act a career in the field that they wish. Moreover, within the majority of job, a degree of reading and writing is necessary.

Corruption refers to the act of wrongly using one’s position of power for an individual gain. Although corruption is practically present in all areas of life, it is usually political corruption that is very dominant. Political corruption refers to the illegal utilization of government powers by its officers for their personal benefits (Bardhan, 1997). Corruption is a threat to the democratic process. It frustrates effort to bring equity. It poses a
serious development challenge. It is attractive because it offers people a state that is accountable to the public. Corruption strikes at the root of social life. Any act of corruption invariably spoils the intention of the society that the advantages and better of social life should be shared or distributed in accordance with well-defined and accepted norms. In matter of corruption it becomes immaterial as to who takes initiative as the transaction as a whole becomes a foul play. Greater democracy, which is associated with freedom of speech and transparency, has significant effects in curbing corruption. Democratic establishments check the power of a government, which in turn limits public officials’ ability to engage in corrupt dealings aimed at accumulating personal wealth. In democratic countries, the public have more effective ways of detecting corrupt activities. This is because, government rules, policies, regulations etc, are transparent, and keeping secrets such as corruption acts from the public is hard. When the public becomes aware of corruption scandals in the government, they pressure government organs to punish the culprits. Consequently, this has greatly discouraged people in democratic countries to engage in corruption. However, this does not mean that there is no corruption in democratic nations; corruption is present but the level varies from one country to another.

Political corruption is a global problem that has been responsible for hindering development in several countries (Tronquist, 1999). Political corruption takes various forms such as bribery, patronage and graft. The main causes of political corruption are: the desire for an unfair advantage, instability in governments, poor incentive structures, the lack of transparency, inefficient systems, as well as the lack of punitive measures that encourage people to engage in corruption because they know they will not be caught or punished for their corrupt behaviors. It is important that members of the parliament enhance how their government works, so as to limit opportunities of corruption by passing stringent anti-corruption laws, and ensuring that those who engage in corruption are jailed irrespective of their social class, influence, or wealth. This way, corruption will be controlled, or even eradicated all together. We should all realize that corruption is affecting all of us, and we must all join hands to stamp it
out of our countries.

Most of the established democracies face the challenge of expansion. This involves applying the basic principle of democratic government across all the regions, different social groups and various institutions. Ensuring greater power to local governments, extension of federal principle to all the units of the federation, inclusion of women and minority groups, etc., falls under this challenge. This also means that less and less decisions should remain outside the arena of democratic control