School pupils should be given the opportunity to both learn and debate about the independence referendum, MSPs have been told.
Lessons should incorporate information about the referendum and young people should be able to question politicians and other key figures before the vote in autumn next year, Holyrood's Referendum Bill Committee heard.
The committee was taking evidence from organisations such as the Scottish Youth Parliament, the National Union of Students (NUS) and Young Scot, as it considers votes for 16 and 17-year-olds.
On Tuesday the Scottish Government formally lodged proposals to lower the referendum voting age to 16, under the Scottish Independence Referendum (Franchise) Bill.
MSPs asked witnesses about the role of schools and local authorities in providing clear information to teenagers.
NUS Scotland president Robin Parker said: "The things I would like to see on a strong scale would be making it part of lessons ... and peer-to-peer teaching. There need to be opportunities to ask politicians questions, to ask the campaigners questions."
Schools need clear guidance on how to do this, he said.
"I think if there is low turnout among 16 and 17-year-olds, it won't be because of a lack of interest in the issue. It will because we have all failed in providing them with the information, the awareness and the ability to vote."
David McNeill, entitlements and rewards director at Young Scot, said: "It is about ensuring that young people have equal access to all points of view. It is about not wanting to scare off schools from doing these kinds of activities, but also that desire to have equal access.
"I do think local authorities and schools should be encouraged to have those kind of events: the Q&As, the debates; as long as they are always mindful of ensuring equal access."