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Centre for Citizenship Education(CCE) Prospectus


Many people in New Zealand today stand to benefit from obtaining a better understanding of the principles and procedures of our evolving pluralist democracy, from coming to appreciate more fully the role and responsibilities of the individual citizen, and the opportunities inherent in our system. They should welcome the diversity of communities, large and small, all over time adjusting to each other and all contributing to the New Zealand identity.

The Centre for Citizenship Education (CCE) is able to contribute to policy formation and educational development, with publications and other means as appropriate.


Priorities

When in 2003 we celebrated the launch by the Speaker of the Guide to Parliament and Government we were still pulling together some disparate activities that, whatever their origins, all had the same fundamental purpose. Now we can say with some confidence that our overall approach is appropriate to the needs of New Zealand today, which is a very different place from the New Zealand of only a few years ago, a constantly evolving society needing to apply good Kiwi common sense to building on its multi-ethnic foundations. The importance of good citizenship, responsibility, accountability and good governance, has never been greater.

Our process is to work as an independent umbrella organisation which will always be interested in issues which advance citizenship education. We cannot implement all of them alone. We have valuable relationships and alliances. We very much appreciate the cooperation of governments, international institutions and non-governmental organisations, including businesses, publishers and others in civil society, and the financial sponsorship they have very generously provided.

For the most part the CCE relies for funding on fees for consultancies which we undertake as part of major projects, and for core and supplementary sponsorships for associated publications.


Publications


In the first quarter 2003 the 115-page fifth edition of the DecisionMaker Guide to Parliament and Government in New Zealand, prepared in consultation with the Centre for Citizenship Education, was launched by the Speaker, Rt Hon. Jonathan Hunt, with a foreword by the Governor-General, Dame Sylvia Cartwright.

Print copies (6000) and CD-Roms (4000) were distributed to and by parliamentarians, central and local government managers, schools and universities, libraries and some non-governmental organisations.

It was followed in the second quarter 2003 by How Participation Works, which went into more detail about the relationships of the individual and the family with the institutions of central and local government.

In the first quarter 2004 a flyer was sent to selected social studies teachers on available and prospective citizenship education resources – a practical way for DecisionMaker Publications and the CCE to acknowledge the achievement of 150 years of Parliament in New Zealand. The secondary school social studies curriculum stresses the need to teach students to understand how systems of government are organised and affect peoples’ lives.

In the second quarter 2004 the Directory for Citizenship Education, which was a section of the DecisionMaker Guide to Parliament and Government in 2003, was updated to catch up with recent changes. Its future development should contribute to managing cultural diversity by introducing migrants and citizens with other ethnic backgrounds to host society service providers.

In the third quarter 2003 a booklet entitled Pacific Citizens emphasised the many linkages and common interests between communities in this country and our Pacific neighbourhood, the need to work together and to understand each others’ values. This took a regional view of the issues facing us all.

We work with cities to strengthen civics education and help their citizens handle local issues. The Guide to Local Government was published in the third quarter 2004, extending publishing services on handling local issues and assisting others to publish. In their daily lives people probably have more frequent contact with their local authorities than with central government. And indeed it seems that some elected officials are themselves, initially at least, unsure of their place in the system. It was launched by Hon Chris Carter, Minister of Local Government.

This edition introduced our multilingual online service in association with the Department of Internal Affairs, in which in Samoan, Chinese, Korean and Arabic we provide selected articles to assist migrants to participate in local government. It also showed our support for the Kids Voting programme, in association with Auckland City, and the Walking Bus programme, in association with Auckland Regional Council, which in different ways foster participation.

The Justice and Electoral Committee resolved to initiate a 2005 inquiry into the 2004 local authority elections, and showed continuing concern about an issue also of concern to the Centre for Citizenship Education. The Parliamentary Committee terms of reference include, in Participation and elector turnout “Assess whether a school civics education programme might affect election turnouts and encourage greater participation in our democracy”.

The 2004 triennial Parliamentary Appropriations Review spoke of “a closer link between the parliamentary agencies and the Centre for Citizenship Education”. The Centre is studying ways in which the DecisionMaker Guide to Government and Parliament, published in print, web and CD-ROM formats, can be developed to address the Review’s priority recommendation – the making of a video on Parliament.

As will be apparent, the CCE cooperates with Asia Pacific Economic News and others to publish quarterly editions, usually online, but also in print, CD and other appropriate formats. Those people and institutions who are likely to be interested, potential contributors, advertisers or possible sponsors can expect a series of quarterly publications.

 

Citizenship Education Knowledge Bank


Likewise, allied institutions may from time to time be in a position to help us build up the Knowledge Bank on www.decisionmaker.co.nz/cce website, which covers current developments in the broad field of citizenship education, and what is seen as international best practice. Access to the Knowledge Bank has been free for many years.

Some of the information collected by founders of the Centre is represented in Turnbull Library holdings – particularly on political developments in the Pacific and multiculturalism in New Zealand.

Cooperative projects

Along with this programme of publications, the Centre has been exploring ways of explaining the ideals of good citizenship and good governance to communities such as those in Manukau City, perhaps our most multi-ethnic urban complex, working with the Manukau Pacific Islands Advisory Council and the Auckland Regional Migrant Services Trust. While it is important to have information and advice available in printed publications, much is best achieved by direct communication, by training programmes or targeted consultancy services - which CCE can provide.

Discussion of the challenges faced in Auckland might well in due course be seen to have application elsewhere, not only in this country.

Looking at our Pacific region, they would be in some ways relevant to a major project on citizenship and governance in Samoa which we have designed in consultation with senior figures in Apia. This opens up the possibility of developing similar projects in cooperation with the Secretariat of the Pacific Islands Forum, or perhaps other Island governments. In their recent meetings in New Zealand Island Leaders have placed great emphasis on the need for improving the quality of governance, and exploring ways of securing greater integration. The Centre’s knowledge of a number of countries in the Pacific and Asia can be applied to design and develop multi-media educational resources.

Over the years the Centre has also been developing relationships with specialists at Victoria University of Wellington such as the School of Government, where its experience can contribute to research and teaching. There is shared interest in reaching out to citizens – whatever community they belong to – who can benefit.

The Centre’s interest in how New Zealand manages multiculturalism, and in following up earlier writings and oral archives such as Being Pakeha and Being Pa’alagi with a programme on Being New Zealanders, has led to cooperation with the Stout Research Centre, the Treaty of Waitangi Research Unit, the New Zealand Futures Trust and others.

The Centre is discussing with the Race Relations Commission the design of a programme which would show how the diversity of cultural groups in this country, where most people are of mixed ethnicity, contributes to the evolution of the New Zealand identity. The 1984 book and film People like us, for which Anthony Haas was responsible, illustrates what can be done.

The Centre has experience of facilitating government, business and research circles working together both between Pacific economies and within the Japan-New Zealand relationship. This is proving valuable in current discussions.

There is widespread recognition that a good citizen should be concerned about a range of communal issues in fields such as health, education, or sustainable development, and should understand the implications for themselves or family members. We have taken a particular interest, through our Horizon Programme, in assisting the sight-impaired, and have provided voluntary service in the blind and sight-impaired community. On a consultancy basis we now are providing professional service in blindness prevention, facilitating a partnership between consumer, eye-care professional, and government interests to increase the effort put into a currently under-resourced area.


Structure


The CCE is a non-governmental organisation established on the basis of a quarter century of experience, involving for example contacts with the Pacific Islands Forum, Australia’s Centre for Democratic Institutions, and Transparency International, the Commonwealth Secretariat and the United Nations.

It is serviced by a secretariat in Wellington, provided since establishment by Asia Pacific Economic News Ltd, and has the benefit of comment from advisory panel members who likewise have wide connections, both in this country and internationally. Anthony Haas, the Establishment Director, is a 2004-2007 Honorary Fellow of the School of Government, Victoria University of Wellington.

Asia Pacific Economic News Ltd’s representation in the Parliamentary Press Gallery helps the collection, evaluation and dissemination of information and knowledge for citizenship education.

The Centre is greatly assisted by its general and specialist Advisory Panel members. These include Professor Gary Hawke, Roger Peren, Hon Hugh Templeton and others with particular interest in certain projects.

Since 1990, when the first edition of the guides to Parliament and Government was published in the DecisionMaker series by Asia Pacific Economic News Ltd in consultation with Parliamentary Service, citizenship education has been supported by successive Speakers of Parliament.

If our democracy is to thrive, we need an informed and responsible electorate. Former Speakers said in 1988 in Restoring public confidence in Parliament
• The media should see themselves as major participants in maintaining the relevance of Parliament for the people
• Civics education should be introduced into the school curriculum
• The public must take responsibility for participation in our Parliamentary system.

Much still remains to be done to build an informed public, as was said in the November 2004 report on Resourcing Parliament.

Find out more:

Centre for Citizenship Education
Secretariat: P O Box 3978, 5 Maurice Tce, Wellington
Web: www.decisionmaker.co.nz/cce
Mobile: O27 242 2301, Fax: 04 3850238
ahaas@decisionmaker.co.nz


Last updated in February 2005

 

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