Why political literacy matters

By Eve Ronson, September 2021

Eve

I have a voice (IHAV) aims to increase political literacy by increasing the provision of political education within schools. As Youth Ambassadors of IHAV we want to understand what political education young people want.


Why does this matter?
The turnout of 18-24 years olds in the 2019 General Election was just 47%. This is significantly lower than for other age categories - the over 65s had a turnout of 74%. This highlights a lack of engagement from younger voters, which we believe stems from inadequate political education in schools. This failure matters because political literacy does not only dictate voter turnout, it affects all aspects of society including our health and wellbeing and our financial circumstances. As political literacy has the ability to define our daily lives and the society we live in, as youth ambassadors we want to find out and promote what young people want from our political education.


What are we doing about it?
We have written to our local MPs to encourage them to join the All-Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) on Political Literacy. I also spoken at the APPG to share with MPs and Peers how our education lacked key elements of political literacy which are vital for creating engaged and responsible citizens.


In September 2021, the team at IHAV published ‘The many facets of political literacy and participation’. A discussion paper aimed at exploring young people’s understanding of contemporary politics and how increased political literacy would benefit wider society. Alongside the launch of the discussion paper, IHAV held an online event that brought together the contributors to the paper including Rosie Lockwood from IPPR North and Matteo Bergamini founder and CEO of Shout Out UK. The IHAV team hopes that the discussion paper sparks a debate over the many benefits of increased political literacy and how society could achieve a higher level of political literacy.


What can you do?
We have launched a survey to examine current political literacy provision from young people’s perspectives and to find out what young people want to learn about politics?


If you are a young person interested in supporting our quest as youth ambassadors, to improve political literacy and education for all, please take a few minutes to complete our short survey. It is designed so young people can provide us with their experience of political education and how we can improve political literacy.