Author Archives: Ellen McDonnell

Opinion: Political education is essential to get young people into politics

Disengagement in politics is a growing concern, especially for my generation. Many claim they don’t know how the system works, who to vote for or don’t feel that their vote can make a difference. Thus, action needs to be taken to engage young people in politics and the as a Lib Dem member I am convinced that they are the right party for the job.

The problem stems from schools, there is a lack of political and economic education, which I feel should be made compulsory. No one told me what first-past-the post was or how the House of Lords works. My passion for politics provided me with the drive to learn and become engaged – so much so that I’m doing a degree in it! Undoubtedly, not everyone shares my passion, we all have differing interests, but that doesn’t mean that students shouldn’t be provided with political education. In Wales, learning Welsh is compulsory until 16, yet politics didn’t feature on my curriculum once during my time in school. Surely being educated in the political system that governs my country, is just as if not more important that learning a second language. Students should be made aware of the importance of voting, learn about how the economy works and the role both economics and politics play in their lives.

It is very easy to say that young people don’t care about politics, when the truth is that many don’t understand politics because no one cared enough to tell them about it. Not only this, it is often argued that politicians reward older generations for their votes with fuel allowances, whilst my generation seem to gain very little. This excludes young people further from the political sphere, as a lack of political education combined the feeling of disregard for young voices creates further disengagement. 

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