BACKGROUND OF THE STUDY
The rapid changes in the developed world have not only led to changes in organizational thinking and working environments, but also in human values, beliefs and behaviours that guide the thoughts and actions of billions of people throughout the world. One of the most important functions of education is to promote the culture of democracy and human rights, than the primary objectives of schools programme should be to establish a high level of awareness of how to share fundamental values in order to develop a free, tolerant and just society. Understanding and assisting democratic development means acquiring basic skills, including ability to think critically, communicate effectively and resolve problems without violence. Negotiating with others cooperatively, open-minded discourses and communicative processes are the competencies that need to become the basic personality characteristics of democratic citizens. This leads us to think of the necessity to promoting democratic citizenship through not merely civic education, but a civic education which is interlinked with human rights education, peace education and intercultural education.
For many students, the idea that they can influence decisions made by government seems too abstract and the issues that engage and concern adults seem both out of reach and in many cases irrelevant to their current lives. Consequently, the focus of this title is to relate political concepts and issues to the students’ personal lives and then extend their understanding to similar issues in the wider world. They will learn that responsible citizenship plays out in the home, at school, and in the wider community in exploring issues pertinent to their experiences, and in so doing beginning to understand how they can influence change, students will start to appreciate the purpose of government. Through the activities students will also develop effective communication skills and see how they can serve as productive and thoughtful citizens. The students should be well aware of the basic electoral knowledge in order to bring a real democracy within the country and to take active participation in the electoral system as a leader (Ijaz, 1976). The positive promotion of electoral values and stability of electoral system with strong electoral structure are of vital importance and significance for a nation. The role of students’ participation in this process is critical and the electoral awareness among the students is a basic necessity in a country like Nigeria for better understanding of the problems of nation and to pave a way for the solid democracy (Dudman, 2007). The students in Nigeria are considered as human resources who have a huge amount of power that can be utilized in economic, social and electoral development of the country. It is experienced in advanced countries that students play positive and pivotal role in the overall development of country. If students are deprived from the opportunities they can get involved in negative activities and can disturb the social, electoral and economic order of the country. Therefore the capacities of the students should be buff off with electoral awareness and to be utilized properly to promote healthy and positive electoral values in the country (Aurangzeb, 2008).
Civic responsibility is comprised of actions and attitudes associated with democratic governance and social participation. Actions of civic responsibility can be displayed in advocacy for various causes. By advocating social issues or environmental concerns, people strengthen their commitment to their community as well as to their own individual citizenship (Banks, 2017). Some attitudes related to civic responsibility include the intention to serve others, the belief that helping others is one s social responsibility, and the tolerance and appreciation of human differences (Markus, King, & Howard, 1993). Students enrolled at institutions of higher education have the opportunity to transform their social interests into advocacy through personal connections with the community (Banks, 2017). Higher education has been commissioned to teach the values of a democratic society. These democratic values honor individual diversity, the common good of the larger community, and the active enterprise of social improvement (Boyer, 1990). A variety of higher education policy statements have been written that discuss civic responsibility and the potential impact of social participation on students. Historically, higher education and political science program has been viewed as a vehicle to promote holistic student development. Included in holistic development is the component of civic responsibility (Boyer, 1990).
Students’ vigorous participation in electoral activities develops their electoral awareness and their skills to live in society. In advanced countries like Canada and USA, students consider it their duty to take active part in democratic system of the country. In Nigeria, students have little opportunity to take part in electoral process and this is why they lack the electoral awareness that influences their attitudes and approaches towards democratic process (Henn et al., 2002). Students are the leaders of tomorrow and a strong potential force that must have electoral awareness and have knowledge when to oppose and when to support the electoral system of a country. They may create further awareness among the gullible and common illiterate members of the community. The used masses may not be used by the electoral kings after having complete awareness about the real democracy and electoral systems. Therefore, the role of the young students becomes more significant in the overall electoral development of the country. Electoral Awareness is believed to be significant and helpful for true democracy because with the help of electoral awareness politicians and leadership of the country can be made accountable (Kizilbash, 2010). In this regard, Singh (1998) conducted a study on the “Electoral socialization of college students at graduate level including science and arts groups and found that the social science students were more electorally aware as compare to the students of natural sciences. Kaur (2000) also conducted a study on determining electoral awareness among the higher secondary students and showed that the secondary school students including arts and science group had lower level of electoral awareness. Additionally, it was also observed that the teachers teaching at higher secondary level were also having a little electoral knowledge. Jabeen (2007) conducted a study on comparing the electoral awareness among the rural and urban Nigeria women and found that the overall level of electoral awareness was much declining while the urban women had slightly more electoral awareness as compared to rural females. Abonu (2013) conducted a study on the assessment of the electoral awareness among students of social studies in Nigerian secondary schools and results of the study revealed the poor level of electoral awareness among the students. Recently, Kauts and Kumar (2014) conducted a study on the electoral socialization of the graduate students including male and female and found that male students had more electoral socialization as compared to the female students from the social sciences.
It has been observed that there are some delinquent behaviour exhibited by undergraduate students, such as fighting, disobedient, truancy among others. Students in tertiary institutions are supposed to actively participate, involve and engage in community development. Students supposed to realize their civic right and responsibilities which include to register as a voters and to vote during the elections, it is also to encourage them to join press club, literary and debating society, including civic society organization and engaged with them, such as Girls Guide, Man O’ War, Peace Corps, Civic Defence and others. Again, students do not realise their duty to participate in community development which include clearing, digging, planting of flowers to beautify the environment and other community service that can promote unity and peaceful coexistence in the nation. It seems students are being used in negative ways by desperate politicians in democracy process, this include destroying electioneering processes such as ballot snatching, rigging by over-voting among others. Keeping in view the same notion in mind, the will determine the level of electoral awareness among political science undergraduates and will also attempt to assess the perception and misconceptions of political science undergraduate’s students towards electoral stability and civic responsibilities in Kwara state.
1.2 STATEMENT OF THE PROBLEM
Preparing citizen to become activists in the service of their homeland and nation, it is obliged to lay a prosperous teaching system; promoting students to obtain a satisfactory level of awareness in politics enabling them grasp reality in an objective way, to accessibly absorb incidents and instability condition in the surroundings. This situation urges us to concentrate on raising the level of awareness in politics among political science undergraduate students. Within a reforming scheme of curriculums reflected on the society positively. The political, economic and social challenges pave the way to start the process of evaluating the acting study plans in addition to education policy as principles of the political science, laying the basis and foundation in spreading the awareness of politics among political science undergraduate students, enhancing the concept of participation in politics and democracy by students when dealing with such issues reflected on their behaviour, especially political participation and national duty.
It has been observed that students are not actively participating in community development neither students show interest in engaging with democratic process in the country. In order to inculcate democratic ideas and ensure a just and egalitarian society, Nigeria need students who are aware of characteristic of a democracy and committed to its ideas, also students who aware of the irregularity associated with human ideas and their actual behaviour. The message of Civic Education is to learn, talk and listen to others and cooperate, including identification of public problems that is cognitive and ethnically demanding activities that can be learned from experience and contribute to society development. The problem of study raises a primary question, it is as follows: what are the effects of bringing the principles of political science on students’ awareness of polities put into practice, especially teaching tertiary institutions in Kwara state?
1.3. AIMS AND OBJECTIVES OF THE STUDY
The major aim of the study is to evaluate perception and misconceptions of political science undergraduates towards electoral stability and civic responsibilities. Other specific objectives are as follows;
1.4. RESEARCH QUESTIONS
1.5. RESEARCH HYPOTHESIS
H0: Perception and misconceptions of political science undergraduates does not affect electoral stability and civic responsibility in Kwara state.
H1: Perception and misconceptions of political science undergraduates significantly affect electoral stability and civic responsibility in Kwara state.
1.6. SIGNIFICANCE OF THE STUDY
The finding of this research will help both the Nigerian society and the youth groups in the country on how best to involve and participate in politics. The study will help highlight the impact of the nature and character of the Nigerian State as well as the ruling elite on the electoral stability and civic duties of citizens in Nigeria. The study will enlighten the general public on the inextricable link between perception and misconceptions students do have towards political participation. The study will not only synchronize with existing enquiries to form a dependable pool of literature in this area, but will also serve as a convenient starting point for further studies in the analysis of the interface between Electoral stability and civic responsibilities in Nigeria.
1.7. SCOPE OF THE STUDY
The study is restricted to perception and misconceptions of political science undergraduates towards electoral stability and civic responsibilities in Kwara State.
1.8 LIMITATION OF THE STUDY
Financial constraint- Insufficient fund tends to impede the efficiency of the researcher in sourcing for the relevant materials, literature or information and in the process of data collection (internet, questionnaire and interview).
Time constraint- The researcher will simultaneously engage in this study with other academic work. This consequently will cut down on the time devoted for the research work.
1.9 DEFINITION OF TERMS
Awareness: Consciousness of politics, recognition of politics and system, in addition to authorities of politics, capacity to evaluate them at the local, Arab, and worldly levels, capacity to absorb and respond and understand events to politics, the effect of politics education and awareness, and students answering the questionnaire measuring the subject of awareness.
The Curriculum of politics: This curriculum is information given to university students as an academic plan and non-prerequisite subject, to recognize students in lectures with credit hours, which grant students with knowledge aiming at increasing awareness of politics.
Political Science: Political science is the study of governments, public policies and political processes, systems, and political behaviour. Political science is an excellent major for students interested in learning how groups of people govern themselves, how policies are made, and how we can improve our government policies at the local, state, national, and international levels.
Civic Responsibility: Comprised of actions and attitudes associated with democratic governance and social participation, civic responsibility can include participation in government, church, volunteers and memberships of voluntary associations. The importance of civic responsibility is paramount to the success of democracy and philanthropy. By engaging in civic responsibility, citizens ensure and uphold certain democratic values written in the founding documents.
Election: It can be defined as an act of choosing or selecting candidates who will represent the people of a country in the parliament and in other positions in the government. Election is also said to be a contest between competing political parties or groups for government power. Elections became imperative as a result of impossibility of direct representation in the modern states.
Electoral Stability: Relative orderliness within a political system with a correspondent positive economic impact on the citizens.
Governance: Government and governance are interchangeably used, both denoting the exercise of authority in an organization, institution or state. Government is the name given to the entity.
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