Educating for democratic engagement in Botswana's democracy: challenges of promoting democratic education
PublisherAfrican Journals Online, http://www.ajol.info/index.php/jsda/index
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In order for democracy to be sustained in any state, it is fundamentally crucial that the education system should teach citizens about democracy and how to participate in the democratic process. Participation in the socio-political process should be the foundation of active democratic engagement by citizens. Educational institutions are supposed to be platforms for social justice where the learner is given a chance to be heard. In a democracy, schools are supposed to educate the citizens so that they can participate in all matters affecting them. This paper contends that in order for Botswana’s citizens to actively participate in the democratic process, there is need for schools to shift their focus and promote democratic education in which pedagogies used are seen to be nurturing awareness of the concept of democracy among the learners. The paper argues that failure to promote 'democracy education’ in schools could ultimately compromise the pursuit of democratic principles. The paper further argues that a pragmatic curriculum would be well placed to help foster civic-mindedness and political consciousness among the citizens, thus enabling them to fully participate in the country’s democracy. The paper concludes by noting that Botswana’s education system has not done enough in terms of addressing the relationship between education and democracy, and puts forward a number of suggestions on the way forward.