New Report: Democratic Values in Secondary Education (2019/2020)

The 2021 Dutch Parliamentary Elections are on the horizon. What do secondary school students think about politics and democracy? Who do they believe should make decisions? And are they willing to vote when they turn 18?

In the second report of the DAPDV project, we follow the development of adolescents' values and knowledge in the first and second year of secondary education.

The results show that young people are not particularly interested in politics and democracy. Half of the second-year students indicate that it is important to live in a democracy, about 15 percent say it is not important, and approximately 35 percent have no pronounced opinion. Second-year students also show less interest in politics and society compared to their first year and say they discuss these topics less with their parents, friends, and teachers.

This is not surprising at the age of 13. However, the significant differences between VWO and VMBO students are remarkable: VWO students are much more likely to consider living in a democracy important, they are more likely to intend to vote, and they have more trust in officeholders (such as politicians, judges, and the police).

Most perceptions of democracy and politics remain relatively stable between the first and second year. The most notable aspect is that second-year students appear to be less considerate of minorities. We also observe a slight decline in support for solidarity with those who are less fortunate.

The full report is available here.

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