New Perspectives in Science Education

Edition 12

Accepted Abstracts

Education for Citizens Participation in Governance

Blendi Dibra, President of Young Intellectuals, Hope association (Albania)


In this presentation will be presented some of the arguments why its so important to educate citizens to participate in local decision making processes. Respect toward human right cannot be achieved in a society if citizens do not have full access in governance by offering them all opportunities to participate as important tool for the development of a democratic system. In order to build a participatory democracy, it is necessary to provide citizens with education programmes that will allow for effective participation in public issues. Numerous international documents have expressed the importance of public participation and the need to institutionalize it.

This paper presents why and how communities should be actively involved in governance not simply as a way to find solution of their concerns but as an important channel to build communication and cooperation with government and strength democracy. Citizen’s participation, it’s a fundamental right which shall be considered both from citizens and government officials to strength the democracy. That’s why its important to educate citizens to participate in the local decision-making processeses. This safeguard was put in place to ensure that citizens have an opportunity to provide input on local decisions before they go into effect. In spite of this public notice requirement, many towns and cities around the world still conduct policy-making without full disclosure to the public. In some instances, this occurs due to time constraints or lack of understanding of the public’s role in the decision-making process. In other cases, public officials intentionally neglect to engage the public, as the public might derail their agenda.

First of all, local citizens know best what the local needs and issues are. Secondly, engaging the public in the decision-making process serves to educate both citizens and policy-makers about the various facts of a particular decision or issue from a variety of perspectives. Third, engaging citizens in decision-making makes the implementation of a decision or policy more likely and build trust among them. Finally, engaging the public helps to build accountability for both public officials and the citizens.

Our society shall establish education programs which effectively engage citizens in local decision-making, whether these decisions focus on Master Plans, local schools, capital improvement projects, economic development, or other local issues? The paper will try answering this question by promoting a variety of tools that public officials can use to educate citizens to participate in decision-making but as well it will be a good “apperitif” for promoting the debate among experts in the field. 

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