Teaching Democracy: The Role of Political Science Education



Politicians and academics have pointed to the fact that young people are increasingly disengaged from conventional politics in the UK. This is illustrated by the dramatic fall in electoral turnout and the ageing of political party memberships in recent decades. Yet recent research has shown that young people remain interested in politics even if they are put off by the political process. In the context of higher education (HE), political science programmes have seen a significant increase in applications (mostly from young people). While a lot of attention has been paid to citizenship education in secondary schools, surprisingly little emphasis has been placed upon the role of the tertiary section in teaching democracy. This article argues that political science education can play an important part in rejuvenating politics by adopting a constructivist approach, establishing synergies between pedagogical and participatory goals.