Not a Subject but an End-Goal: Education for Citizenship in New Zealand

Not a Subject but an End-Goal: Education for Citizenship in New Zealand

Carol Anne Mutch (The University of Auckland, New Zealand)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-5225-7110-0.ch003
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This chapter discusses the status of citizenship education across three periods of New Zealand history. Each period is characterized by the competing educational debates of the day. The first period (Indigenous vs. Colonial, circa 1200AD-early 1900s) describes the contestation over land, citizenship, and education between the indigenous Māori and their British colonizers. Early in the 20th century, the traditional colonial form of schooling is challenged by a liberal progressive approach (Traditional Conservative vs. Liberal Progressive, 1900s-1970s). With the economic downturn of the 1970s the third era begins (New Right vs. Liberal Left, 1970s-present). In each period of history, the nature and status of education for citizenship has been a subject of debate with the outcome in the hands of the dominant ideology of the time. The tensions have not yet been resolved and while education for citizenship has always been an end-goal, it has never reached the status of a compulsory subject.
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Indigenous Versus Colonial

The 1840 Treaty of Waitangi was written in both English and te reo Māori (the Māori language). As with any language, it is not always possible to capture the cultural, social and linguistic nuances in translation. While the current understanding of the treaty’s three principles is that they guarantee partnership, participation and protection, the understandings that each of the signatories took away from the treaty at the time differed markedly (King, 2007; Orange, 2010; Tawhai & Gray-Sharpe, 2011). Pākehā (the Māori name for European New Zealanders) undertook the religious conversion, cultural assimilation and formal education of Māori into British culture through means such as the 1867 Native Schools Act. Māori, “an uninitiated but intelligent and high spirited people” were seen as in need of being brought “into line with our [British] civilisation” (Bailey, 1977, p. 5). Broken promises and misappropriation of land became heated issues for Māori and led to the New Zealand Wars of the 1860s. Following the wars, more Māori land was confiscated by the government. By the end of the 19th century, Māori were dispossessed of much of their land and their population was in rapid decline (Irwin, 1994; King, 2007; Simon & Massey, 1994; Tawhai & Gray-Sharpe, 2011).

Key Terms in this Chapter

Primary Education: Also known as elementary education – the first level of schooling following early childhood education. In New Zealand primary schooling goes from Years 1-8 (ages 5-12), although there are some intermediate (middle) schools catering for Years 7 and 8 only.

Social Sciences Education: The term social sciences is more generally used for a cluster of academic disciplines, such as geography or political studies. In New Zealand, social sciences education is also used to cover the school subjects, social studies, history, geography, economics, classical studies, sociology, and so on.

Integrated Curriculum: Curriculum theorists talk of two kinds of curricula: one in which school subjects are kept close to their original disciplinary boundaries (for example, history and geography); and another where disciplinary boundaries are more blurred (for example, a cross-curricular thematic approach). The second kind of curriculum is often called an integrated curriculum and is more common in early childhood and primary schooling.

Citizenship Education: The aspect of schooling, either as a subject in the curriculum or incorporated into other subjects, where students learn about democracy, the rights and responsibilities of citizenship, and how to be active and engaged citizens.

Ideology: When a group holds a set of views that they deem common sense and unproblematic, but which might be at odds with other group’s views.

Social Inquiry: Various modes of inquiry learning or action learning have become popular over the last few decades. Social inquiry is one of these types of inquiry where the topic focuses on some kind of social issue and often leads to some form of social action.

Worldview: A more generic term for what philosophers called ontology. It is the way in which groups or individuals reconcile the contradictions of their reality to create a coherent belief, philosophy, or explanation to describe the way the world appears to them.

Secondary Education: The level of schooling following basic or primary education. In New Zealand, secondary education goes from Years 9-13 (ages 13-18) with the last three years including national level assessments (National Certificate of Educational Attainment).

Civics Education: Allied to citizenship education but focuses more on knowledge of government, the law, and the obligations of being a citizen.

Core Curriculum: When several school subjects are prioritized over others and deemed essential. The subjects are often what are known as “the basics”—numeracy and literacy—but in more recent times are the STEM subjects – science, technology, English, and mathematics.

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