Safeguarding Democracy through Education
The powerful words of a great man have remained evergreen ever since they were spoken more than a hundred and fifty years ago. The most important part of the speech itself is contained in the last words, a charge to all living beings to ensure all we can so “that government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the earth”. This is the great charge from President Abraham Lincoln, and the onus is on us to keep democracy alive. But how can we do this? There are more ways than one in ensuring the sustenance of democracy; but perhaps, education is the most potent of them all.
In this modern era, education is a necessary tool which plays an important role in helping to safeguard our democracy. It behooves us to align our education in such a way to preserve democracy. Here is a lowdown on some of the ways through which education can help to keep our democracy.
Creating Awareness about Rights, Civic Duties and Obligations
One of the advantages of democracy over other forms of government is that it recognizes everybody as being equal before the law. Everybody has equal rights, which are enshrined in the constitution. If people are aware of their rights, they will know how to stand up to anybody who tries to infringe on these rights. Knowledge is power.
In addition, the school should teach people to be better citizens in a democratic society by effectively propagating the civic responsibilities expected of them, such as payment of taxes and participating in elections. Taxes help to keep the government running while credible elections, the hallmark of democracy, increase the citizens’ level of confidence in democracy. Students should be taught all these in school.
Imparting Knowledge of History
History helps us to reflect on what happened in the past and learn from such occurrences. It is very important that schools teach history so that the students can objectively look back at the different forms of government that have existed in historical times and compare them with the current way of doing things. By doing this, the students will be able to appreciate democracy and even look for ways of achieving a better democracy.
Teaching Students to Make Learned and Informed Decisions
Citizens should be taught to rationally evaluate their options and understand the reasons why they have to make certain choices while ignoring others. For example, during an election, voters should know who and what they are voting for and who they are voting against. Not only this, but they must also understand the reasons behind these political decisions, having analyzed their options with the aid of the knowledge gotten from school. This will go a long way in ensuring that bad leaders are not chosen.
It is not fallacious to say that education is pivotal to the preservation of democracy. In fact, democracy and education go pari passu. The extent to which democracy succeeds in any country is a function of its level of education. Therefore, the continuous utilization of education will lead to a more perfect level of democracy in our country.