Youth understanding of citizenship rights and responsibilities in the Lesotho context: implications for civic education

Keywords: citizenship curriculum, youth, Lesotho, informal learning


This paper reports on findings from a recent PhD study which explored how young adults in Lesotho understood and applied their citizenship rights and responsibilities. It is written with a view to informing proposed revisions to the 1995 Lesotho National Youth Policy which highlighted concerns that young adults are caught between the tensions of traditional values and expectations for human rights that are internationally recognised and to which Lesotho is a signatory. The focus in this paper is on exploring the extent to which Basotho youth understood and behaved in relation to communitarian, civic republican and cosmopolitan style citizenships. It also explores how and where youth learned their citizenship values with a view to recommending curriculum reform in the country’s non-formal youth programmes. This was a qualitative study which interviewed youth from three different groups and included invitations to provide and discuss photos of their citizenship activities. Recommendations included the need to develop a broader understanding of cosmopolitan and civic republican civic values and to include in a youth curriculum an opportunity to discuss intergenerational tensions that challenged how youth reconciled their human rights entitlements with traditional community responsibilities.
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