EDUCATING FOR EU CITIZENSHIP: Identifying the characteristics and potential conditions that could enhance awareness of European citizenship among school students
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Education for citizenship has gained increasing importance in education systems in European states in recent years, with ideas of creating enlightened and engaged citizens, prepared for active participation in society. The Maastricht Treaty, which came into force in 1993 not only created the European Union as we know it, but instituted the concept of a European-level citizenship, with concrete political and social rights afforded to all citizens of EU Member States. This has added an extra dimension to education for citizenship, as the wider, European dimension of citizenship is now considered. The importance of promoting and incorporating both knowledge of the EU and concepts of European citizenship in the formal education system and existing or developing citizenship education programmes has become more widely recognised. The aim of this thesis is to examine citizenship education policies and practices in three Member States, namely France, Ireland and Croatia. The European dimension of such education will be examined, to assess the contact students are given with the EU, its institutions and the rights it offers all EU citizens during second-level education in particular, as young people begin to discover their nation and its role in the wider world. By creating a framework for analysis and examining the characteristics of citizenship education in these countries, a number of ideal conditions will be outlined for education systems that could potentially enhance the level of awareness and engagement of students with their citizenship at a European level.