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ERIC Number: EJ924952
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2011
Pages: 14
Abstractor: As Provided
Reference Count: 21
ISSN: ISSN-0013-1881
Citizenship, Nationalism, Human Rights and Democracy: A Tangling of Terms in the Kuwaiti Curriculum
Al-Nakib, Rania
Educational Research, v53 n2 p165-178 2011
Background: Citizenship, nationalism, human rights and democracy are four terms and concepts that are inextricably linked. In Kuwait, the status of citizen is based on nationality, gender and age, with women, children, naturalised citizens, expatriates and "bidoon" (stateless people) denied many freedoms, rights and services. Citizenship is defined by some, feeling and practice. In Kuwait, the denial or limitation of the first makes the latter two all but impossible. Purpose: In this paper, I discuss the tensions between citizenship, nationalism, human rights and democracy within the Kuwaiti context and then explore how these are mirrored in the tangling of terms within the Kuwaiti national curriculum. Particular attention is paid to the Constitution and Human Rights (CHR) module, which introduced a form of national democratic citizenship education to the secondary curriculum (grades 10, 11 and 12) for the first time in 2006 but was then rescinded to grade 12 only by the 2009-2010 academic year. Students' perceptions of the concepts and their learning will form an important part of the analysis. Methodology: The student voices come from student research workshops carried out as part of a case study of a Kuwaiti government school. These workshops were carried out in the spring terms of 2009 and 2010 with grades 10, 11 and 12 classes; a total of approximately 180 students were involved. In small groups, students were asked to reflect on posters on what they learned in school about citizenship, human rights and democracy. Their responses were translated, coded and categorised by theme. The grade 11 posters were selected for this paper, as they provide a contrast between the 2009 students, who took the CHR module, and the 2010 students, who did not. Quotes that were selected for inclusion in this paper were those that had themes echoed by several other students. Conclusions: The CHR module shifted the focus from education for national citizenship to education for "democratic" national citizenship, as reflected in the contrasting student responses in 2009 and 2010. However, the module also inadvertently brought to the surface the inconsistencies and tensions between several of the concepts it was meant to educate about. This caused students to develop criticality, and, alongside their learning on human rights and politics, was a potentially strong trigger for change from below. Its swift withdrawal from the curriculum, however, shifted the focus of citizenship education back to nationalism and patriotism. It also rendered students less equipped to effect change--a result that the more sceptical may believe was intended. (Contains 9 notes.)
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Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Research
Education Level: Grade 10; Grade 11; Grade 12; Secondary Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: Kuwait