Democracy is complex and free speech vital, so tomorrow’s voters must start to learn this today

Amid cynicism and mistrust of politicians, it is unrealistic to expect Year 6 and 10 students to know, or be interested in, political issues (“Students long way off being citizens”, 21/1). How many teachers are abreast of civics and our democratic values, let alone of political problems in other countries?

It seems the Australian Curriculum Assessment and Reporting Authority needs to introduce more subjects relating to these vital aspects at a younger age for students to develop an interest in them. Given the contrary responses to the Twitter purge of Donald Trump, schools should be debating the issue of freedom of speech, as well as other related democratic values, as often as they can.

As a secondary school politics teacher, my experience highlighted only a few senior students undertaking politics as an elective in Year 11 and 12 in Victoria, while in NSW, it is not even offered.

It is complex to fully grasp how a democracy operates, as the events in America have recently revealed and students should be exposed to this complexity in order to unravel it for their own enlightenment and the future of our democracy.