2019 Volume 13 Pages 5-22
Many approaches to political education take it to involve the construction of particular sections of the curriculum in which political matters are addressed - named perhaps “civics” or “citizenship education”. While these approaches have often been beneficial, they are all also problematic and controversial in some degree. Moreover, it is sometimes said that political education operates across a wide range of what happens in educational institutions - for example, in the ways of behaving that are promoted inside and outside the classroom, in the general ethos of the school or college, and through its marking of significant dates or events. The approach adopted in this paper takes a more radical line, however, in that it resists the restriction of the political that these approaches assume. This is not to argue for the mobilization of schools and other educational institutions as instruments of politics. It is rather to try to show that matters of political significance are pervasive in the curriculum. The substance of the curriculum is an expression of what the culture takes to be important and of the values that the culture wishes to pass on. The fostering of those values must have some effect on the kind of society that is then promoted, and indeed this must be inherent in the aims of education.