Distinction and Diversity in Higher Education

Active Citizenship: The Role of Higher Education


A new report by NUS and GuildHE highlights the social contribution of higher education to society in developing students as citizens. The report – Active Citizenship: the role of higher education – includes a charter identifying key areas where universities can pursue and promote this agenda.

Professor Joy Carter, Vice-Chancellor, University of Winchester and GuildHE Chair, said:

“Universities demonstrate over and over that a higher education has to develop students into citizens – citizens who are prepared to challenge received wisdom, act on their principles and make valuable contributions to themselves, their communities, and society at home and abroad.

“The report highlights six key areas: volunteering, democratic engagement, environmental sustainability, community engagement, global citizenship and reflection and development. It explores how each can be embedded into the university experience, both academic and extra-curricular, and identifies the benefits of supporting students to become active citizens.”

Rob Young, Vice President (Society and Citizenship), NUS said:

“As champions for the benefit that higher education has for students and society, NUS and GuildHE believe that higher education has the potential to develop students as citizens. These are people who understand community issues, engage with the democratic process and work for the public good. This report highlights the key areas the sector can work in to take this agenda forward.”

The report also features a number of case studies that highlight how higher education benefits society in this way. These include a charity set up in India by a student that helps survivors of acid attacks and teacher training courses that cultivate global citizenship through overseas fieldwork.

To read the full report click here

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