'When I asked who was voting, only 10% of my students raised their hands'

The level of apparent apathy among young voters has been a topic of serious debate during this election period.

Read: Many young people 'making a noise' by withholding their vote, says opinionista

Nuraan Davids, professor of philosophy of education at the University of Stellenbosch, joins Africa Melane to discuss why the civic responsibility programme at schools seems to be ineffective.

She says that theoretically, the current curriculum does focus on cultivating future citizens, not only in Life Orientation but across all subjects.

However, there are a number of problems limiting the effectiveness of the policy - these range from teachers' heavy workload to the fact that many pupils go to school hungry and have to learn in unsafe environments.

Many, many teachers simply see themselves as maths educators or science educators and they will say to you, "I can't be bothered about the social stuff", and that is a huge problem.

Nuraan Davids, Professor of philosophy of education - University of Stellenbosch

Part of the reason also is that the curriculum is already overloaded as it is.

Nuraan Davids, Professor of Philosophy of Education - University of Stellenbosch

Focusing on the problems faced by school children, Davids says many don't enjoy the rights enshrined in the Constitution.

As an example, she notes that some kids are still going hungry although the system says they ought to be fed.

Unless we are able to address these issues at grassroots level and actually ensure that our learners at (primary) schools, that our children in high schools are in safe environments and they actually have access to that which democracy promises, we're going to find it more and more and more, our younger people are not going to be interested in playing a role in this democracy.

Nuraan Davids, Professor of philosophy of education - University of Stellenbosch

If you wish for me to participate in this democracy, then show me what this democracy looks like and show me what it can hold for me.

Nuraan Davids, Professor of philosophy of education - University of Stellenbosch

Davids says that when she asked her students the day before elections who was going to vote, not more than 10% raised their hands.

She says they don't seem to feel that politicians are talking to them or addressing their issues.

For more of this important conversation, listen below:


This article first appeared on CapeTalk : 'When I asked who was voting, only 10% of my students raised their hands'


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