civic responsibility

Civic, Social and Political Education

Civic, Social and Political Education (CSPE) is one of the compulsory subjects in the Junior Certificate course in the Republic of Ireland. CSPE does not have honours and ordinary level papers, rather it has one common level exam. The course encourages civic responsibility and teaches about the basis of the Irish political system. Other topics covered include racism, the environment and the community.

Racism is centred on immigration in the course. Special topics in the environment would be global warming, littering and recycling. In the political section, there is special focus on the Constitution of Ireland, the European Union, and the United Nations.


A total of 40% of the marks in the exam are awarded for a written theory test, which includes such things as producing a poster, letter or article on a CSPE topic(such as poverty, racism, discrimination, etc.) or the ,and interpreting opinion polls.The written exam also has a number of short questions, which are very simple.

The remaining 60% of the marks are given for a report on an Action Project performed by an entire class of students at a time. This has to be based on one of the core topics - e.g. workers rights, environmentalism, racism, etc.


The Action Project has frequently been the cause of controversy, as it is completed entirely within school hours. A number of schools have been caught providing a pre-written Action Project book for the students to copy out, and this had led to entire years being failed in certain schools.

The course has also been criticised as being too vague and easy to get high marks in, but as the course is relatively new, faults at this stage are to be expected. There is also much controversy about the fact that only a common level can be taken.



In France, the equivalent of CSPE is called ECJS (éducation civique, juridique et sociale).

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