Young citizens face up to the future


TRANSITION Year teachers searching for a well-researched, teacher-friendly civics programme need look no further than the Citizens' Information for Students pack.

This weighty pack, which was produced by the Cork Citizens' Information Centre, is based on information provided by the National Social Services Board and is now in use in more than 150 post-primary schools in the Cork, Waterford and Tipperary region.

The 10 modules in the pack include citizenship, consumer issues, travel abroad, renting for the first time, finance, taxation, health and personal health.

Students may be particularly interested in the travel module which includes all the practical information on passports and visa applications, health forms €111 and €109, the VHI Assist scheme, emigration, summer work abroad and holidays. It includes a list of embassies and various agencies which provide help to emigrants.

The object of the finance section is to make students aware of the importance of budgeting, saving and debt management. There is a sample budget sheet and practical details about credit management.

Students who are thinking ahead to the time when they may study or work away from home can find all the necessary details on rental agreements, rent books, landlord and tenant rights.

The real strength of this pack is its practical approach. Sample forms are included, which the teacher can photo- copy and give to students to complete. So, students can have a stab at the paperwork on applying for visas, form €111s and so on.

There is detailed up-to-date information on all of the topics so, for instance, students who have part-time jobs can find out about labour law and their rights.

The Cork Citizens' Information Centre is a voluntary organisation which answers about 10,000 queries a year. Most of the questions asked by young people who call the centre have been answered in this pack, which is updated each year.

Last year, 40 additional loose-leaf pages were sent to schools using the packs. As well as a Transition Year aid, the pack is now on the recommended reading list for the Leaving Certificate Vocational Programme. The pack costs £70 but it can be photocopied. The £70 includes free updates each year and a free certification scheme for students who complete five modules. Claire Baily and Jean Murphy of Cork Citizens information Centre are both happy to travel anywhere to meet groups of teachers and demonstrate the pack to them.