Classroom kits aim to get kids talking about democracy
As elections approach, Flemish broadcaster VRT hopes its EDUbox will encourage teenagers to explore and become engaged with politics
Active young citizens
The kit is part of VRT’s EDUbox series, which explains important topics in ways tailored to young learners. The boxes contain cards with introductions, theory, practical exercises and ideas for further information, and are linked to a series of online resources on VRT’s website and on social media.
Through the Democracy EDUbox, VRT and the parliament want to teach secondary school pupils about the political systems in use in Belgium and around the world and encourage them to explore the topic with classmates in a constructive and co-operative way.
“VRT and VRT NWS are seeking new, innovative ways to introduce young people to politics,” said Liesbeth Vrieleman, editor-in-chief of the broadcaster’s news site, VRT NWS. “Research into the importance of politics among first-time voters shows that a large majority of them find elections boring and only half of them are interested in politics in general.”
The Democracy kit gives pupils the scenario of a group of plane-crash survivors on an island who have to build their own society from scratch. In small groups, they must consider and debate who makes the decisions and the laws, how decisions are reached and laws enforced, and what rights and responsibilities the members of this new society will have.
Other kits in the series tackle the subjects of fake news and how data is presented in the media. The work students carry out as part of the EDUbox system will count towards the eindtermen, the minimum levels of attainment expected in each school year.
“Every parliamentary democracy needs engaged and active citizens,” said Jan Peumans, speaker of the Flemish parliament. “We are not born democratic citizens, but we can learn to become them. School is the ideal place to learn, practise and experience that citizenship.”