Citizenship is about belonging to a collective. People are capable of multiple identities simultaneously. Hence, citizenship is not just about a formal identity conferred by the state. It is also learnt identity with other fellow citizens. Dr Rajesh Tandon was conducting a workshop for students, faculty and community activists in University of Alberta, Canada on March 22, 2016. (http://unescochair-cbrsr.org/pdf/presentation/Edmonton-March2016.pdf)
Formal citizenship rights may apply to all, but their experience in reality may be different. Social and cultural factors may create exclusions of citizenship. In the photo of youth in the slide above, the claims to rights in education are influenced by gender and religion. Boys and non-Muslim girls shown in the photo may access the education more readily than Muslim girls with hijab.
Discussions in the workshop included efforts to engage youth by Faculty of Extension and Centre for Public Inclusion of the University. (www.centreforpublicinvolvement.com)
Recovery of citizenship claims may be enabled through community-based participatory research, where understanding of meanings may be enabled. University extension faculty and community service learning programmes may be able to facilitate such active citizenship within communities and public spheres.
Thus, learning citizenship is not just a course in civics at grade 8 or a framework of state-citizen relations in political science. It is about learning to become an active citizenship in everyday life.
Dr. Rajesh Tandon