Electoral Reform Society says pupils want democracy lessons

image copyrightGetty Images
image captionA campaign group says lessons on politics should be essential

School pupils should be given compulsory lessons on politics in Wales, the Electoral Reform Society (ERS) has said.

ERS Cymru asked nearly 200 pupils their views on political education.

Statutory classes on the basics of democracy and a Wales-wide mock election are amongst the proposals.

Education Secretary Kirsty Williams said it was essential future voters were "well equipped to undertake their democratic responsibilities".

The report also calls for:

  • an independent "toolbox" to help teacher democracy lessons in an engaging and non-partisan way
  • time to discuss and debate current affairs in the school day
  • closer contact between schools and elected politicians
  • "real life" lessons in matters such as paying bills, registering to vote and information on taxes
image copyrightWelsh Assembly
image captionKirsty Williams said it is essential future voters were well equipped to undertake their democratic responsibilities

ERS Cymru said it was a "crucial time" for young people in Wales, with 16 and 17-year-olds set to vote at assembly and local elections and reforms being made to the school curriculum.

The campaigning body's director Jess Blair said the recommendations came "directly from young people across Wales, the first cohort who will be able to vote at 16 and 17".

"These suggestions are from the people that know their own education best - and show a need for a stronger structure for political education," she said.

"These recommendations could prove to be a game changer to the way young people learn and understand politics, preparing them to be active participants in a democracy that is more participative and vibrant - and in turn improving and energising the political debate across Wales."

Ms Williams responded: "It truly is fantastic to see the energy and dedication which has gone into this work, and it is clear that the young people of Wales have a keen interest in being politically aware.

"It is essential that we listen to the opinions and perspectives of our young people so that we can truly understand what matters to them, and to ensure that our next generation of voters are well equipped to undertake their democratic responsibility, creating a future for Wales that we can all be proud of."

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