Civic service through schools: An international perspective

Alberto Arenas, Kris Bosworth, Hardson Kwandayi

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

17 Scopus citations


Civic service, which refers to activities that seek to improve the local, national or international community either through community service or service learning, is widespread in secondary schools around the world. Despite this pervasive presence, there are few studies that approach the subject from a crosscomparison perspective. This article addresses this gap by providing a comprehensive review of the international literature on civic service in terms of history, theory, research and practice. In terms of history and theory, the article brings together the work of several key proponents of civic service who, despite working in different countries and continents, placed civic service high in their educational agenda. In terms of research, it presents the most uptodate research on the potential benefits and pitfalls of civic service. In terms of practice, it lists various limitations related to its implementation and presents possibilities for overcoming these. This section stresses the importance of establishing a respectful and honest relationship with intended beneficiaries to avoid fostering unhealthy social patterns, a key problem of many civic service programs. The article ends with areas for future research.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)23-40
Number of pages18
Issue number1
StatePublished - Mar 2006


  • Civic service
  • Community service
  • Experiential education
  • Service learning
  • Work education

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Education


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