Citizenship as One of the Major Goals of Education

Education and Democracy

People have seen education and its major goals differently depending on the cultural, economic, and political peculiarities of their societies. Although the major idea behind educating younger generations has been their development and their transition to the complete involvement in social life, the aims and methods still differ considerably (Kirylo, 2013). Brighouse (2006) states that liberal democracies have generated a specific view on the role of education in relation to citizenship that implies law abiding, active political participation, and engagement in public reasoning. In simple terms, the role of educators is to teach children to be true citizens who can contribute to the evolvement of their countries. This paper includes a brief summary of this aim of education, which is citizenship.

The concept of citizenship is complex, and in liberal democracies, it contains several elements. The components described by Brighouse (2006) mentioned above unveil the major dichotomy related to citizenship. A good citizen concentrates on the public good by abiding with laws and taking an active part in the political life of their country. At the same time, participation in public reasoning presupposes an element of individuality and people’s needs. According to Dewey, education is mainly concerned with personal growth that inevitably results in people’s self-realization within the frames of the society (Wadlington, 2013). The thinker emphasized that people learn to acknowledge their potential and be able to fulfil it by making the world better in diverse aspects. The process of making good citizens, as Dewey saw it, was associated with personal growth that translated into people’s desire to contribute and shape the society in accordance with certain beliefs and principles. Well-educated people become citizens who can create and maintain a world where all have equal opportunities, rights, and responsibilities. These societies are just and based on such liberal values as equality, empathy, and commitment to continuous growth.

The major strength of such views on education in its relation to citizenship is the focus on the development of the public good based on major moral principles. People strive for a just society where people do not suffer from hunger, disease, injustice, poverty, and other vices of the contemporary world. Education provides the instruments to address these issues as people create new medications and new technologies to make this world better. However, this approach also has a significant weakness that can be regarded as the premise for the occurrence of injustice. Clearly, educators can inspire younger generations to adopt their vision, but the modern educational systems do not fully equip learners with exact tools to become responsible citizens. Some researchers express their concerns regarding the methods employed to achieve the mentioned goal. For instance, Kirylo (2013) claims that current educational strategies are mainly confined to standards and achieving certain academic goals. However, educators do not show the path to align individual goals with societal aims. Children are taught to compete to occupy some positions in the society rather than undertake some measures to eliminate the wrongs.

In conclusion, it is necessary to note that citizenship as one of the major goals of education can be attainable if the educational systems in liberal democracies undergo changes. Apart from postulating the need to contribute to the development of the society, learners should be trained to use their knowledge and skills to become responsible citizens. Educators should develop effective strategies to make young generations willing and prepared to address the existing and upcoming issues through collaboration and commitment to the public good.


Brighouse, H. (2006). On education. New York, NY: Routledge.

Kirylo, J. D. (2013). Introduction: Resistance, courage, and action. In J. D. Kirylo (Ed.), A critical pedagogy of resistance: 34 pedagogues we need to know (pp. 29-32). Rotterdam, the Netherlands: Sense Publishers.

Wadlington, E. (2013). John Dewey: Pragmatist, philosopher, and advocate of progressive education. In J. D. Kirylo (Ed.), A critical pedagogy of resistance: 34 pedagogues we need to know (pp. 29-32). Rotterdam, the Netherlands: Sense Publishers.

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