Civic Literacy Test in Belarus: High Basic Knowledge, Low Trust in Influencing Government

Civic Literacy Test in Belarus: High Basic Knowledge, Low Trust in Influencing Government

Belarusians have high basic civic knowledge but lack trust in their ability to influence the government according to the Civic Literacy Test, the first survey of the kind in Belarus. The national survey combined quantitative and qualitative methods – i.e. representative national poll and focus groups – and was commissioned by Pact in June 2016.  

The Civic Literacy Test object was to obtain relevant data on the level of civic awareness and citizen engagement of the Belarusians. The survey targeted four main areas: a) civic knowledge, b) civic behavior, c) civic attitude and d) civic education based on core pillars of modern citizenship according to the XXI Century Citizenship Concept

Key findings:

•75% of Belarusians demonstrated knowledge of national symbols, administrative structure of the country and basic civil rights and responsibilities stipulated in the Belarus' Constitution;

•99% of Belarusians believe they cannot influence state policies and decisions of the authorities both on local and national levels; 

•Only 3.8% of the respondents indicated their ability to name their elected representative in the national Parliament, and 3% - in local legislatures;  

•66.5% of respondents said they were ready to join their neighbors in civic action. At the same time, only 4.8% of respondents stated that they participated in socially useful activities last year;

•Engagement of the Belarusians in the global context is rather weak: 61% of respondents don’t speak or understand any foreign language, and 69% travel abroad not more than once a year;

•60.5% of Belarusians did not attend any civic educational programs and 58.8% expressed no interest in receiving such training in the future;

•Belarusians often demonstrate deeper knowledge, greater activism and positive attitudes when it comes to issues that affect them personally, as opposed to matters of common concern or public sphere. 

Read the full text of the polling memo in English and Russian (Читайте полный текст аналитической записки на русском языке). Tables with complete polling results in Russian are available here

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