Civics Academy Newsletter:

A brief look at the first half of 2022

To the Civics Academy Community

The Civics Academy has had a successful start to the year 2022, as we continued to build on our efforts to enhance civic education in South Africa. Going into this year, our immediate goals were to:

  • leverage important dates and events in the country to bring our community together and showcase our educational content, 
  • leverage media collaborations to tap in and contribute to important conversations about governance and active citizenship in our country.

We’re excited to share with you the journey of our work in this newsletter.  We hope you’ll enjoy the read.

Bringing communities together and showcasing the Civics Academy educational content

March campaign on Human Rights and the Role of Local Government in South Africa:

To kick off our work in March, we launched a month-long campaign on Human Rights and the Role of Local Government in South Africa. During this campaign, we commemorated Human Rights Month by sharing daily social media posts that showcased our educational videos.  We also encouraged our community to join the conversation by sharing their views on the roles of local government and active citizens in ensuring the enjoyment and protection of our human rights. In the spirit of active citizenship, we closed off the month with a live #CivicsChat event where we invited leaders from the Johannesburg  Ward 134 local government, the Council for the Advancement of the South African Constitution, and local NGO Rivonia Circle, to weigh in on the dependency of human rights on good governance and responsive citizenship.

April-June campaign on the Importance of Civic Education in South Africa’s schools:

In April, we opened the topic of civic education in schools with the aim of promoting our TVET Lecturers’ Guides which were created in collaboration with the South African Department of Higher Education and Training (DHET) to assist Life Orientation Lecturers to facilitate fun and interactive classes that promote active citizenship and voter education. After noticing the interest of our community in this topic, we saw an opportunity to come back to it and unpack it in more detail, particularly leveraging the commemoration of  Youth Month in June.

So ahead of  Youth Day on 15 June, we hosted another live #CivicsChat event and invited representatives from Sedibeng TVET College, The Daily Vox, and political commentator platform Politically Aweh, to be on the panel. During this session, our panelists and audience engaged in a discussion about the visibility of civic education in our classrooms, as well as challenges and opportunities for teachers and other practitioners who promote civic education in our schools. One of the key take-aways that we got from the session was that the responsibility of enhancing civic education does not lie with the government alone. Rather, it requires a collective effort from all sectors of society, including our policymakers in government, our teachers at school, and parents at home. To see the full summary of the event, you can visit this link.

Enhancing SA’s civic education with our free online course on Local Government:

To heed the call and do our part in the collective effort to enhance civic education in our country, we decided to wrap up the first half of 2022 by launching our free online course on local government. The course is self-paced and offers 11 modules that focus on various topics, including municipal structures and services, the role of a municipal councillor, and how citizens can participate in municipal processes in South Africa.  At the end of each module, learners are invited to take a quiz to test their knowledge, and upon completion of the course, they get a certificate from the Hanns Seidel Foundation. So far, 757 students have enrolled, and 145 have completed and received their certificates.

Leveraging media collaborations to contribute to civic education in South Africa:

As we have continued to grow our community of active citizens and strengthen our engagement with them, we were also fortunate enough to make connections with media outlets and other institutions that work to promote civic education in our country. These connections produced engagement opportunities of their own where we tapped in and contributed to important conversations about governance and active citizenship in our country.  We remain grateful to our colleagues at Cape Talk Radio, The Daily Vox, Kisima Radio,  Youth Lab, and the ThuMa Foundation for hosting us in interviews, podcasts, and panel discussions where we showcased our work and supported active citizens in leveling up their civic education.  To view these past collaborations and others you can look forward to in the future, you can visit this link.