The Impact of Student Engagement on Citizenship Competences

The Impact of Student Engagement on Citizenship Competences
Evidence from Makerere University and the University of Cape Town
Luescher-Mamashela TM

The study of student engagement has become mainstream in higher education research. In the last two decades there has been a sharp increase in the number of student surveys inspired by the idea that the more students are engaged in learning activities and participate in ‘effective’ or ‘high-impact’ educational practices, the greater their learning gains. But despite growing empirical evidence that there is a positive correlation between the level of student engagement and learning outcomes, we still know very little about wider implications of having more engaged students on campus. Are these students more successful in their careers? Do they make better citizens?

This report explores the latter question in a thorough and convincing manner. Drawing on the data on student experience collected in two African universities, University of Cape Town (South Africa) and Makerere University (Uganda), the project seeks to investigate a complex set of relations between student engagement and democratic citizenship. It is one of the fi rst empirically-driven attempts to approach such complicated question and to identify what universities realistically could do to develop values of democracy and citizenship among their students.

The relevancy goes far beyond African continent to many developing countries that struggle with civic engagement and establishing truly democratic governance system.

– Dr Igor Chirikov, Senior Research Fellow at the Institute of Education, HSE-Moscow and SERU-I Managing Director, Center for Studies in Higher Education, UC Berkeley

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