ERS Scotland launch new report, ‘Scotland’s Future Citizens’ calling for stronger citizenship education to be made priority
ERS and Bite The Ballot join forces to demand action on youth empowerment in Scotland
Statement from Electoral Reform Society Scotland for immediate release, 3rd April
For media enquiries, contact Willie Sullivan (ERS Scotland Director) on firstname.lastname@example.org, or 07940523842, or Phil Connor, ERS Scotland Campaigns Organiser, on Phil.Connor@electoral-reform.org.uk // 07941087837. For Bite The Ballot queries, contact Oliver Sidorczuk on 07923892040
Electoral Reform Society Scotland and Bite The Ballot call on the next Scottish Government to make boosting citizenship education a priority, as ERS Scotland launch a new report  today on youth empowerment.
ERS Scotland and youth democracy movement Bite The Ballot have united to call on parties  and the next government to back the report’s recommendations to improve citizenship education - given that this election is the first in Scotland where 16 and 17 year olds can vote following the ‘huge success’ of votes at 16 in the Scottish referendum.
The campaigners want the Scottish Government to ensure that every young person leaves school in the future empowered and equipped with skills, knowledge and confidence to:
● Register to vote - and to vote
● Understand, challenge and help evolve our political processes, and
● Take action, improve and strengthen our schools and communities.
ERS Scotland and Bite The Ballot have written to all the parties in Scotland to back #ThePledge, the call for stronger citizenship education focusing on these three priorities and ‘democratising Scotland’s schools’.
‘Scotland’s Future Citizens’ argues that: “With the lowering of the voting age in Scotland to 16, first for the referendum on independence and subsequently for elections to Holyrood, now is the perfect opportunity to foster a generation of informed and active citizens.”
ERS and BTB's full briefing note about #ThePledge may be viewed here.
Willie Sullivan, Scottish Director of Electoral Reform Society, said:
“Even though young people today are the most connected generation in history, they're also the generation that is most disconnected from politics. They are either cut off from, don't value or aren't participating in political processes. But can we blame them?
"To combat this, it's vital that young people's voices are heard and that their priorities are understood - and acted on. But we need a much bigger focus on democracy in our schools if we're going to develop citizens who are engaged from the very start of their adult lives.
"We should constantly be asking what we can do to improve the way citizenship is developed in Scotland. With the lowering of the voting age in Scotland to 16, first for the referendum on independence and subsequently for elections to Holyrood, now is the time to foster a generation of informed, equipped and active young citizens.”
Oliver Sidorczuk, Advocacy Coordinator at Bite The Ballot, added:
“If we want the next generation of Scots to be informed, active and engaged citizens of the world, we need to empower young people with the skills, knowledge and confidence to take power in democracy.
“That's why, with two days to go until polling day, we're calling on every party - and every Scottish Parliament candidate - to make #ThePledge.
“The need for active, practical and inspiring political education - including opportunities to register to vote - is clear. And if the next Scottish Government work with us to make it a reality, we can spark a political evolution that helps young people understand, challenge and strengthen our politics for the long-term.
“Political education empowers people to take a stake in society, and engage with - and evolve - relationships between individuals, communities and decision-making. It's time to make this vision for Scotland, a reality. It's time to fulfil #ThePledge.”
For media enquiries, contact Willie Sullivan (ERS Scotland Director) on email@example.com, or 07940523842. For Bite The Ballot queries, contact Oliver Sidorczuk on 07923892040.
 ERS Scotland’s new report ‘Scotland's Future Citizens’ is published, here: bit.ly/1SKpcmU.
 Read the full briefing on #ThePledge here: bit.ly/1SYUNqp.
 Holyrood candidates are being asked to add their names to campaign (tinyurl.com/Scotland-ThePledge) and share a social media asset online (bit.ly/1NFxvDG) using the hashtag #ThePledge.
 Bite The Ballot's research on the need for political education is available, here: bit.ly/1VVFLlE.