Hidden in the curriculum: Political Literacy and Education for Citizenship in Australia.

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For almost 30 years the concept of 'political literacy' has been the focus of academic commentary as well as providing a theoretical framework for education. The term was recently described in the United Kingdom as the acquisition of the knowledge, skills and values to support effective and informed decisions in democratic participation. Alongside community involvement and social and moral responsibility, political literacy is seen as one of the three core elements that underpin effective education for citizenship. In recent years there has been an apparent international growth of interest in the alleged disengagement of young people from conventional political processes and structures. In Australia and across many other Western democracies responding programmes of civics and citizenship education have resulted in an increased research focus upon the levels of political knowledge and participation amongst young people. With this paper I review a range of literature to explore the influence of political literacy on the direction of contemporary educational policy and practice in Australia.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)110-134
JournalMelbourne Journal of Politics
Publication statusPublished - 2007


  • youth
  • political literacy
  • civics
  • citizenship
  • activism


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