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Title: A comparative study of citizenship education in France, Germany and Australia during the 1930's
Author: Hick, D. F. S.
Awarding Body: Institute of Education (University of London)
Current Institution: UCL Institute of Education (IOE)
Date of Award: 1977
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There were certain assumptions that were common to educational practice in France, Germany, and Australia. It was generally agreed that the schools should provide the basic skills of literacy and numeracy that all citizens would need, and that they should have some regard for vocational preparation. This occurred indirectly through the process of certification, and for some children directly through instruction in practical subjects. Much importance was also attached to the transmission of the cultural heritage, acquainting children with the nature of their society, and of their rights and responsibilities as citizens. This involved a concern for the child as an individual, and also for the integrity of the community of which he was a member. These two aspects could not always be easily reconciled, and the relative importance that should be given to each depended on the perceptions of various sections within each country. Humanism dictated that the individual was allimportant. Moral education, whether based on religion or derived from reason, was believed to be a means of creating a better person to the consequent benefit of the community. Opposed to this was the view that the welfare of society ought not to be left to chance, and that care should be taken to ensure that children became aware of their civic duties, and of the need to preserve the stability of the community, and the unity of the nation. The schools in the three countries sought to meet both requirements by providing formal instruction in moral education,and through the teaching of history and civics. There were also hidden forces that affected the training being given. Within the school it was influenced by the atmosphere, the arrangement of the curriculum, and the demands of the examinations. Beyond it the child's preparation for citizenship was determined by his family environment, the churches, youth organisations, political activity in society, and by changee in educational thinking. When Germany abandoned democracy in favour of national socialism, the concept of citizenship changed to embrace a total commitment to the welfare of the community. The schools could not discharge this responsibility unaided, and the potential of many other agencies was harnessed with the deliberate intent of using every means to mould the kind of citizen that the new society required. In France the humanistic tradition remained strong, and established procedures were subject to little change. There were, however, powerful demands for a complete reorganisation of the school system to make it more responsive to the needs of a democratic society. Fears that this might disturb the delicate balance between church and state resulted in a vigorous resistance to change. It was not until the election of a socialist government in 1936 that the impetus for reform gained real momentum, and even then the weight of the opposition prevented its ultimate realisation. The pattern of education that had developed over the years in Australia seemed to satisfy those concerned with its provision, and the equilibrium of public, private, and catholic systems was maintained. The changes that occurred were made gradually and with extreme caution, and the period is noted more for the growth and acceptance of the general idea that greater attention should be paid to educating children for democratic citizenship, than for the development of any actual programme to make this effective. The end of the decade was marked by the outbreak of hostilities in which all three countries were involved. The war had little effect on the manner in which children were being educated for citizenship in Australia, whilst in France the swift defeat not only extinguished the Third Republic, but also halted the programme of educational reform, and exposed the schools to the influence of national socialism. In Germany the conflict provided an incentive for a more determined effort to cast children in the mould of the 'political soldier,' and the opportunity to test the qualities that he possessed in practice, in defence of the national community.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available