The article is devoted to the study of the main tendencies in the civic education of young people in the context of the formation and development of modern democratic societies. The authors seek to identify the main trends in higher education related to the development of civic consciousness and critical thinking, the transmission of democratic values, and the elaboration of skills that promote behaviour aimed at maintaining a high level of political culture. At the same time, the correlation of global trends with the state of civic education in Ukraine is analyzed. After gaining independence, Ukraine is gradually moving from paternalistic support with state regulation of the economy to a market economy, the development of democratic institutions. The unstable political situation, armed conflict, economic downturn, and large-scale internal migration slow down these processes. However, there are also positive trends in Ukraine: public initiatives are becoming more significant and visible, civil society is developing rapidly. A large role in these processes belongs to young people, and especially to students who will become teachers in the future. Based on the results of a sociological study, which included a nationally-representative survey of students – future teachers majoring in “Primary Education” (274 students (fourth and fifth years of study) from six Ukrainian Pedagogical Universities) analyzed the range of definitions of democracy in education, vision of the place of democratic citizenship in the educational environment and obstacles to civic education and democracy in teacher training. The analysis revealed the number of challenges needs to be overcome: the dominance of a “thin” understanding of democracy among the Ukrainian educational community and teaching “about” democracy, the presence of the Soviet system’s rudiments in the modern educational environment, some alienation of knowledge about democracy and narrowing them, the delineation of active citizenship and political participation, the reduction of the concept of citizenship to the legal relations of the state and the citizen, etc.
Keywords: civic education, democracy, active citizenship, political participation, Ukraine