Matteo Bergamini, Founder & Director, will be heading to the House of Lords on Wednesday the 13th of September to submit evidence collected by Shout Out UK over the last two years.
Shout Out UK’s report, co-authored by Matteo Bergamini and Creative Director Patrick Ireland, opens with “[w]hen one talks about civic engagement in our society – and the responsibilities or rights of a citizen – there is a glaring elephant in the room; and that’s the fact that we do not equip our young people with the tools necessary to engage in our political system.”
Shout Out UK’s report goes on to say that “political literacy in schools should be a right of all citizens” and “without offering citizens this right, they are being failed by both the state and civic society in general.”
The report stresses that it is important to highlight that politics is “like a language” and without understanding or knowing that language it is hard for young people to “engage”.
The report makes 5 key recommendations:
1. Citizenship education OR Political Literacy should be compulsory in all UK secondary schools.
2. There should be emphasis on political participation, but it is not the be-all of citizenship, as Shout Out UK’s Political Literacy Course proves that young people are more interested in MPs, how laws are made and political ideology – as opposed to simply knowing why voting is important. Participation is ultimately a by-product of a politically literate citizen; the more they know, the more engaged they will be.
3. There is an urgent need for some form of Political Literacy in schools which covers the basics. It should be incorporated into Citizenship classes OR during form time.
4. If a new form of Citizenship/PSHE/Political Literacy is to be brought into schools, it should contain oracy at its core; with debating and public speaking being a heavy part of it.
5. Political Literacy should not be centralised as it could potentially lead to issues surrounding possible political bias and instead run by external organisations already working in this space.
Based on a survey of their online readership, Shout Out UK found that the overall sentiment amongst young people was that politics currently does not engage with those who do not engage with it in the first place.
This changed, however, the report suggests, at the last General Election because Corbyn’s Labour wanted to actively reach out to young people.
The #Grime4Corbyn, the Corbyn chant and the Labour T-shirts were all manifestations of youth culture adopting politics into their discourse. Why? Because the Labour Party, whether you agree with their policies or not, wanted to engage with young people who normally wouldn’t have cared too with a message of hope, compassion, understanding and community.
Find out more about the committee here: http://www.parliament.uk/business/committees/committees-a-z/lords-select/citizenship-civic-engagement/