'Teach students dialogue culture, political ethics' 'Parents, schools vital to build character'

KUWAIT CITY, July 22, (KUNA): Several Kuwaiti academicians believed that school curricula should include the culture of democracy, election, freedoms, variation of opinions, constitution, authorities, and individual and family role in society.
Interviewed by KUNA separately, Kuwaiti academicians, mostly specializing in political, social and educational sciences, emphasized that it is necessary to inculcate the young with such concepts and values.
Political education is a significant and necessary process in democratic societies, where individuals can learn ideal political concepts and values like political participation, democracy, election and dialogue, said Dr Faisal Abu Slaib, a professor of sociology at Kuwait University.
The State, through public and private institutions, families and political parties and groups, is required to educate children about political involvement, he said.

This political education should have been launched since 1962 when the Kuwaiti Constitution was written in order to inculcate the young with the significance and content of actual political participation and democracy, he added.
Curricula can act as significant tools for the promotion and consolidation of necessary political concepts such as political participation, democracy, tolerance and citizenship, the sociology professor pointed out.
The primary education stage is the best for children to be taught political, democratic and dialogue values and principles, he believed.
Dr Yaqoub Al-Kandari, a professor of sociology at Kuwait University, said the concepts of electoral culture and democracy carry a host of social values that should be learnt by students and children, especially respect for opinion and counter-opinion.
The concepts of electoral culture and democracy are linked to social political upbringing for the young, and are of paramount significance not only to elections and democracy, but to social life as well, he remarked.
In this context, the professor underlined the significance of reconsidering educational programs so that schools can play a social role, while creating the congenial atmosphere for promoting such concepts and values.

The family should play an early role in the inculcation of such values and principles with children, with schools completing this role later, he said.
The process should begin with the family when children are allowed to freely express themselves and voice views unrestrictedly through comprehensive democratic dialogue, based on mutual respect and freedom of opinion and counter-opinion, he noted.
But, the professor complained that the current school curricula are not enough for promoting such concepts and values, given that intolerance, disrespect for counter-opinion, social classification are clear-cut and unequivocal indications and sign of educational failure.
The solution springs from the fact that more concerted social efforts should be exerted by schools, media, religious and legislative institutions as well as civil society with the goal of putting such valuable concepts in place, Al-Kandari suggested.

A senior official of the Ministry of Education said the significance of democracy stems from its values that need to be learnt by the young; primarily respect for law, equality, opinion and the other opinion, social involvement, transparency and national unity.
The inclusion of electoral culture and democratic concepts in school curricula has become inescapable, said Dr Khaled Al-Rushaid, undersecretary of the Ministry of Education for curricula and educational research and development plan following-up panel.
But, he said the model for electoral and democratic education for the young should be homegrown and based on societal concepts, habits, customs and privacy.
The best democratic system is the one that could lead to national development and ensure the rights of everyone in justice and equality, he added.

There is no certain age for promoting and establishing such human educational values as effective democratic values, the educational official pointed out.
Democratic concepts are not linked to school curricula, and national education subjects and the current constitution are enough for promoting such significant values, he said.
The official concluded by calling for effectively inculcating the values of democracy with the young and cementing and beefing up democratic practices in schools through committee and student council elections.

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