As the converging crises of racial injustice, public health, climate, migration, and income inequity have all made evident, the world needs citizens who have an unrelenting commitment to civic engagement, empathy and justice. Civic education is a major way that governments can foster the values and capabilities necessary for people to be informed and engaged global citizens.
Over the months of January to June 2020, we supported Sierra Leone’s Ministry of Basic and Senior Secondary Education, its National Council for Civic Education and Development (NaCCED), and other key education stakeholders in the country in their ongoing efforts to create an innovative and intentional civic education curriculum that meets the needs of the present moment.
The primary objective of our collaboration was to create an effective framework to guide the instruction and evaluation of the nation’s new civic education curriculum at the primary school level (Grades 1-3).
Moving from a traditional to an innovative approach to civic education
Traditional civic education pedagogy does not adequately equip students with the learnings that they need to actively engage in and address social issues. This shortcoming is due to several factors such as the emphasis on teaching facts through rote memorization, the restriction of civic mindedness to national borders, and a lack of emphasis on skill-building that would translate into lifelong civic participation.
In support of the ministry’s reform agenda to address the pedagogical challenges highlighted above, we researched and distilled key learnings from international civics reform experience – primarily from Botswana, Ghana and Zambia.