Andrew RT Davies accused of ‘race-baiting’ in Twitter post
The Leader of the Welsh Conservatives, Andrew RT Davies has been accused of “race-baiting” following his remarks on social media about a scheme to attract a more diverse teaching workforce.
The leader of the opposition posted a screen grab of a Wales Online article from March which reported on the launch of the Welsh Government’s ‘Ethnic Minority Incentive Scheme’.
The scheme provides up to £5,000 to eligible individuals to ensure the education workforce reflects Wales’ diverse population.
There are two other schemes available alongside the new incentive which are open to all applicants regardless of their ethnicity.
These were mentioned in the original article but were cropped out of the Twitter post.
The Priority Subject Incentive Scheme offers £15,000 for those undertaking secondary subject specialisms most needed in the teaching workforce and a £5,000 grant is available to people studying to teach secondary subjects through the medium of Welsh.
Along with the image of the news article, Mr Davies tweeted: “Yet another divisive policy from Labour ministers in the Senedd. We should not single people out because of their skin colour or ethnicity.”
In the comments section the Welsh Tory leader said the scheme “should not be happening”.
Yet another divisive policy from Labour ministers in the Senedd.
We should not single people out because of their skin colour or ethnicity. pic.twitter.com/vMGsEZFXHu
— Andrew RT Davies (@AndrewRTDavies) May 3, 2023
Chair of the Teaching Assistants Network and pioneer for Black communities in Wales, Donna Ali said the Welsh Tory leader’s remarks offer a “very one-sided state of play” and “conveniently omit the reasons why more resources have to go into minority groups”.
She said: “I wonder if Mr Davies would like to tweet about the fact that minority ethnic groups continue to be affected by the ‘pay gap’.
“This kind of race-baiting, particularly in Wales, can have a negative effect on the progressive work that so many organisations and partners are doing to work with the Welsh Government to meet the aims of the anti-racist action plan.
“The fact that we have to decolonize our teaching and learning in schools demonstrates the need for a fairer, more equitable educational experience. It starts from there. Education has a lot of catching up to do.
She added: “Maybe when people are paid based on their value to the workplace, rather than the colour of their skin, as the ‘pay gap’ suggests, then there will be a greater sense of equality and opportunity, so people are not funded based on the colour of their skin.
“This is affirmative action or positive discrimination in action, so that people from minority groups can catch up.
“But until we have equality across the board, starting with education, the game will always be unfair.
“Mr Davies needs to retract or fact-find and expand on his tweet and stop trying to stir up an equality war because he will not win it!”
On average, employees in Wales from ethnic minority groups earn around 1.4% per hour less than White British employees, although there are large differences among different ethnic minorities.
A 2022 report from non-profit organisation People Like Us and Censuswide, raised concerns that the ethnicity pay gap would worsen during the cost of living crisis and it found that ethnic professionals were more likely to borrow money, move in with family and skip meals.
A recent Welsh Government report containing research by Professor Charlotte Williams offered recommendations to the Welsh Government on what needed to be done to encourage more Black, Asian, and minority ethnic people into teaching.
The report helped form a new curriculum that hopes to reinforce the importance of teaching diverse experiences.
The ‘Ethnic Minority Incentive Scheme’ forms part of the Welsh Government’s plans to make Wales an anti-racist nation.
Minister for Education and Welsh Language, Jeremy Miles said: “This incentive is an important part of the work we are doing to attract more Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic applicants into the teaching profession.
“Currently less than 2% of our teaching workforce are from a Black, Asian or Minority Ethnic background. That simply isn’t good enough.
“I am committed to increasing representation within our education workforce. Our young people need to recognise themselves and their own experiences within their leaders.
“We are moving into an exciting new era with the roll out of our new curriculum and this incentive will help ensure the diversity of Wales is better reflected.”
Nation.Cymru contacted Andrew RT Davies for comment but did not receive a response.
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