About Citizenship

Citizenship education is about educating for democracy, equality and peace. It entails the key concepts of: rights and responsibility, democracy and justice, diversity and inclusion in a local and global context. It requires active participation and learning methods, critical thinking and enquiry based approaches.

SCoTENS’ members identified citizenship education as a particularly beneficial area for collaboration and interaction North and South. In the Republic of Ireland citizenship education has been a mandatory component of the curriculum since 1997. In Northern Ireland citizenship education was made compulsory with the revised curriculum introduced on a statutory footing in 2007. While citizenship education, as framed by each curriculum, retains distinctive feature in the two jurisdictions, both refer to local and global contexts, use active learning methodologies and cover substantially corresponding themes.

This website has been set up to facilitate the exchange of citizenship related news, teaching materials, resources and research findings. It is designed primarily to support students, teachers and teacher educators and will be of interest to anyone involved with education for citizenship in the formal or non-formal education sector. If you have any relevant resources or information we would be delighted to include them on this website. Please email rowan.oberman@spd.dcu.ie in this regard.

In Northern Ireland citizenship education forms part of the revised curriculum, introduced on a statutory footing in 2007. In the new primary curriculum, citizenship education is framed as Mutual Understanding in the Local and Wider Community forming one of the strands of the curriculum area, Personal Development and Mutual Understanding. The strand explores the themes of relationships, rules, rights and responsibilities, managing conflict, similarities and differences and learning to live as members of the community. At post-primary level, Local and Global Citizenship forms part of Learning for Life and Work at Key Stages 3 and 4. Local and Global Citizenship is delivered through four key themes: Diversity and Inclusion, Equality and Social Justice, Rights & Responsibilities, Democracy and Active Participation.

In the Republic of Ireland at Primary level, Developing Citizenship forms a strand of Social, Personal and Health Education (SPHE). It explores themes including: diversity and inclusion, participation, interdependence, rights and responsibility, equality and stewardship. At a post primary level, Civic, Social and Political Education (CSPE) has been a part of the curriculum since 1997. CSPE focuses on seven core concepts: Human Dignity, Rights & Responsibilities, Democracy, Development, Law, Interdependence and Stewardship, and is taught to pupils from Year 1 to Year 3 in all post-primary schools as a timetabled class period. Formal assessment in the Junior Certificate Examination includes credit for a report on an action project.

To a large extent, youth work is all about making citizenship a reality for young people. Responsible citizenship is regarded as a primary objective of youth work by both the Youth Service in Northern Ireland and The National Youth Council of Ireland in the Republic. According to these bodies youth work is underpinned by values such as: equality and inclusion; respect for others and participation. The programmes and activities engaged in by youth workers and young people are often citizenship orientated project including those grounded on social action, youth participation, rights and equality issues, the environment, development education and politics. Core principles of citizenship education are reflected across and integral to the youth work sector:

  • encouraging youth participation;
  • promoting acceptance and understanding of others and
  • developing appropriate skills, values and principles.

The Non-Formal Sector in Northern Ireland

The Non-Formal Sector in Republic of Ireland