Political education is often discussed in debates now. This topic touches on the influence of our schools and educational institutions on the political beliefs of students. One of the theoretical goals of education is to make people politically literate and active citizens. But how concretely are education and political views related? What’s the connection here?
In this article, we focus on the impact of education on political life. Of course, education includes much more than just the academic world, but it is an all-encompassing part of the whole. In this article, we take a closer look at political effects: political commitment, political attitudes, and political knowledge.
Let’s first examine some of these effects from three different perspectives. These are: (A) external variables affecting education and political opinion, (B) direct variables, and (C) indirect variables.
External variables affecting education and political views
At the statistical level, when we talk about external, modulating or external variables , we are talking about external variables that create a link between two other variables. For example, there is a relationship between the number of hospitals and prisons in a city. It is a statistical fact that there are more prisons in cities with a large number of hospitals. But the link comes from a third variable that affects both others: population.
When it comes to education and political views, there are – these are external aspects that affect both variables, which partially explains the connection. There are many of them, but the most important are the following: cognitive abilities, personality and socio-economic background.
The link to cognitive ability is beautifully obvious. A high level of verbal expressiveness, abstract thinking and a good memory, among other things, will help you advance in both your formal education and your political ability. On the other hand, cognitive abilities that come into conflict with the educational system in which you develop them are breeding grounds for weak political understanding.
When it comes to personality, it is important to understand that certain views can influence education and political views. For example, learning propensity, curiosity, and exploration are associated with higher academic achievement and deeper political understanding.
Another important aspect is the socio-economic background. This is because there are social constraints in both political life and formal education. All over the world, many people do not have the opportunity to go to university because they simply cannot afford it. Likewise, people with lower socioeconomic status do not usually devote much time to politics. Sometimes this is because they are virtually excluded. But in other cases, it’s because they spend most of their time trying to survive in unstable work conditions.
Direct variables between education and political views
Formal education varies greatly. Of course, this leads to different ways of organizing the education of people with differences in what we call “political understanding.” It is also proof that the two variables are directly related. But what exactly affects this link? The most important are curriculum content and educational values.
Curriculum content can have a direct impact on the political knowledge students receive. … For obvious reasons, teaching political concepts can clearly help create future citizens with much better political analysis skills. In addition, the type of content also has a great influence on the political inclination of students. In other words, a political education that talks about the benefits of liberalism is likely to lead people to identify more with these ideas.
Teaching students values based on dialogue, debate and critical thinking is important. This is the best way to help them develop their own political views. There is a strong bond between schools using these principles and politically motivated students. On the other hand, if students receive a narrow hierarchical education, they become accustomed to dogmatic thinking and trust in authority. Ultimately, these principles are always at odds with a critical approach to politics.
Indirect Variables Between Education and Political Views
There is a good chance that a person’s educational level will determine different aspects of his or her life. There is usually a big difference between starting your working life after graduating from high school and starting your working life after completing your doctorate. Many of these educational differences also influence people’s political views. However, the most important indirect variables between education and political views are social status, self-esteem, and opportunities.
In the eyes of society, your level of education is something that puts you “above” some people and “below” others. This is because our society is full of stereotypical thinking, which forces us to look at people differently depending on whether they have a comprehensive education or not. The main reference here is that the higher your educational level, the more political influence you have (if the other variables are the same).
Self-perception is a variable between education and political views
Everything you studying in academic life also affects the way you see yourself. Your self-esteem will push you to place yourself in the same category as other people with the same level of education. It also happens that groups with a higher level of education are more socially acceptable when it comes to politics.
Finally, higher education usually means more opportunities. So basically, depending on how many opportunities you have, you have more or less chances to get involved in politics.
There are many different points of view on the relationship between education and political views. But they give us basic information on how to ensure the presence of politically active and highly qualified people in our society. The first may be that we must ensure that there are no social or economic constraints on politics. In this way, our political systems are more likely to become more representative and easier to work for the common good.
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