Civic literacy can be described as possessing the knowledge that is essential for active participation in community change. It entails the ability to think rationally and identify challenges and solutions in a given community setting. The foundations of any given democratic society are dependent on the degree of civic literacy among the citizenry. According to Morehouse, “Civic literacy helps individuals in the community to understand their roles and responsibilities” (89). That indicates that without civic literacy, individuals in the community cannot understand their communal obligations.
The focus of this paper is to delve into the analysis of the college system and the role it plays in the social and communal perspective. It is aimed at understanding the role of education in civic literacy and its importance in a democracy. The idea is to create an analytical understanding of the college and vocation training and the role it has in shaping the civic information and understanding of an individual.
Education, for many people, is the very basis of understanding the environment and the world around them. From childhood, a person’s view of the world is slowly but surely shaped by the knowledge he or she gains with the passage of time. Education is thus the very basis of understanding society, responsibility and roles by the various members of a given community. Basic education, however, is only essential for communication basics and facilitation of interaction between members of a community. However, the level of education does impact and influence a person’s perception of civic duties and responsibilities.
The level of a college education a person receives has been linked to being the determinant of the amount of information they possess. For a few individuals, education is a basic need that comes without effort or struggle. For another group, education is a pursuit that takes time, money and effort to attain. Morehouse puts it better when he says, “Education is an endless journey” (43). Learning takes place each day and does not stop with completion of formal education.
History and social systems are an integral aspect of understanding the society and the community. They form the basis of understanding a person’s life and his or her role in the community. The dynamics of civic literacy are based on understanding the running of government, market dynamics, relations between states, laws, regulations, codes of conduct and ethics.
The above-mentioned elements help an individual comprehend his environment and its systems. For change to be attained or be initiated within a community, one has first to understand how it works. Change entails solving problems and finding endpoints to existing challenges that are in a given society. Civic literacy, therefore, “is a factor of one’s education level” (Morehouse 106). The need for vocational training and college education for people is a necessary tool for ensuring the civic obedience and uprightness.
Civic literacy is the very bone and foundation upon which change in a given community or society dwells. The ability to realize development is based on the idea of people understanding their obligations, rights, rules, and regulations. The creation of a perfect civic community that abides by the law and is focused on bringing about change and developed is thus directly dependent on the level and degree of education. College, as explained in the content of the paper, is a tool that is used to inform and train individuals on the basics of civics. College education involves the training of an individual to analyze various aspects of their choice of career or field.
According to Lisman, “Through education the community gains cohesion” (34). Education is a tool that the society and community have used for hundreds of years to foster cohesion and understanding within the community. The society is based on the interrelation between sub-units and sub-cultures. This means for change to be realized in any way or form, one has to under the various components that make up a community or culture. In this case scenario, a person in college is introduced to a specific field of knowledge in which he or she is supposed to master.
The greatest asset of the college education is the unity that is realized in the coming together of communities and societies. Jacob, Stewart, John, and Yeager argue that college is “an aggregation of various factors [that include] minds, cultures, ages, ideas, perceptions and concepts of various individuals” (78). This complex organism of sort is essential in developing and shaping the mind of a person. It defines a difference in the perception they once held and the new one they do acquire.
The diversity of cultures, idea, perceptions and individuality is the parameter that allows people to begin to see challenges and problems within a given community. College, in essence, is the forms the institution and system of society that the communities in the world over use to inculcate civic literacy at its finest form.
However, the education system has been analyzed and found to have a myriad of challenges and problems. Despite the positive attributes and strong correlation between college education and civic literacy and change in a community, a number of issues have been highlighted and pointed out. The education system, in the contemporary perspective, is built to churn out individuals who are ready to find employment and work.
As explained by DeVitis, “Graduates today get disappointed when they lack jobs instead of getting disappointed when they fail to solve society problems” (56). The current crops of college graduates are more frustrated by the lack of securing employment than by failing to solve a societal problem. The society filled problems and challenges that require immediate attention, a good example being the problem of climate change. However, it is more comfortable to find a job than it is for students to develop ways and means of solving the challenges that the society faces.
Going forward, a number of dynamics and components within the education system should be changed to ensure that the very core purpose is realized. Having graduates that are relatively dysfunctional on the very core role they have to play in society becomes a problem on its own. The essential role and core importance of civic literacy is for the fact that the society gets to benefit from the positive changes and development that accrues from the knowledge of civic roles and responsibilities. Education should reclaim its position in imparting knowledge and civic values that would be essential in the society. Over the last few years, there has been a doubt about whether education is really imparting the civic literacy values in individuals undergoing the system of education.
DeVitis, Joseph L. Critical Civic Literacy: A Reader. New York: P. Lang, 2011. Print.
Jacob, W J, Stewart E. Sutin, John C. Weidman, and John L. Yeager. Community Engagement in Higher Education: Policy Reforms and Practice. 2015. Internet resource.
Lisman, C D. Toward a Civil Society: Civic Literacy and Service Learning. Westport, Conn: Bergin & Garvey, 1998. Print.
Morehouse, Ward. A New Civic Literacy: American Education and Global Interdependence : a Paper. Princeton, NJ: Aspen Institute for Humanistic Studies, 1976. Print.