Why Politics Should Be Taught As A Compulsory Subject
With the political world more active than ever, politics is extremely misunderstood in many aspects.
Ah, politics. The word that many shy away from. Not me though, politics is my life. I live and breathe it, however cliché that may sound. High school laid a solid foundation for what I am doing right now in my life and the achievements that came with it. I can remember I chose to do history as my first choice from the social sciences column in my second year of high school (we have a 6 years school system). However, as fate had it, the subject was very popular and classes filled quickly. One of my deputy teachers pulled me aside and told me that politics (also known as Modern Studies) would be a perfect fit for me and boy, were they right!
Fast forward to now, Five years later I chose to peruse a politics degree. The amount of people I have spoken to that say ‘politics doesn’t concern me’ or ‘I don’t care about politics’ is vast. However, politics is vital and each and every one of us should care, a little, at least. Politics is interdependent on the economy and social issues. Without politics, businesses would be in chaos and society would be in trouble.
That’s where democracy comes in. Democracy comes from the Greek word of Demos – meaning people and Kratos – meaning rule of. To be a democracy, politicians and authorities need to listen to us. But what use is that, when we are being bombarded with different parties, different views and different objectives with no explanation? For some, a lack of political education leads to uninformed choices for elections, local or general, spread of false news as we see nowadays, and confusion amongst groups of society.
“Democracy cannot succeed unless those who express their choice are prepared to choose wisely. The real safeguard of democracy, therefore, is education.” – Franklin D. Roosevelt
If politics was taught at school as a compulsory subject, students would have a clear idea on what they want and what they feel is the best decision for their country. Having a look into party ideologies, non-biased, and the overall system and topical issues which are of interest: Terrorism, immigration, foreign policy etc. would ensure that students would be ready for their first vote and be able to participate fully in British politics. Furthermore, this would allow a basic foundation to be built for students to use for understanding the complex world of politics.
The British Parliament has said that General Election turnout has decreased since 2001. Between 1922-1997, turnout remained at a positive level above 71%. Fast forward to 2001 and it all goes downhill. Turnout was at a shocking 59.4%! Everyone has their opinion on why this could be, feel free to spectate. If we look at 2015, the turnout level was 66.1%. Not bad, but not very good – there is so much room for improvement.
These statistics show that politics may be deemed as complex and difficult. A range of factors from candidates representing the parties, to the actual parties themselves along with social and economic conditions influence the voter. However, if politics was taught as a subject, it would allow more people to vote. If we have more people voting, it would definitely help create a fairly represented democracy to mirror what the population actually wants – rather than a limited number of voters representing the majority.