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Anti-racism charity calls on rest of UK to follow Wales’ lead on black history curriculum

02 Apr 2021 3 minutes Read
Photo by UnratedStudio from Pixabay

 

The UK’s foremost anti-racism charity has called on the rest of the UK to follow Wales and implement black history as part of their countries’ curriculum.

Show Racism the Red Card Chair Tosca Fairchild said that Education Minister Kirsty Williams’ “ground-breaking” curriculum was important in tackling the “devasting impact” of racism in society.

Kirsty Williams announced last month that all children in Wales will be taught about racism and the contributions of Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic communities as part of the new national curriculum.

Under changes to the new curriculum the teaching of BAME histories will be mandatory, the outgoing Education Minister said, helping pupils become “informed citizens of the world”.

Writing in the Scotsman, Tosca Fairchild praised the move and said that “it falls upon all of society to acknowledge racial inequality and do everything possible to address and eliminate it”.

“Teaching children and young people about racism and the experiences and contributions of Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic people must become part of school curriculum across all nations of the United Kingdom.”

‘Devastating impact’

“The Welsh Education Minister Kirsty Williams is leading the way in ground-breaking curriculum reform by adopting 51 recommendations of a new report which advised on the inclusion of black history in the Welsh school curriculum,” Tosca Fairchild wrote.

“This report concludes that ‘education alone cannot put right the systemic racial inequality that is evidenced and experienced in all social policy fields…’ but that schools are a ‘significant arena of change and critical in building the ethical and informed citizens of the future’.

“It is incumbent upon all of us to take account of and welcome this report, particularly in the light of growing daily evidence of the devasting impact that racial inequality, entrenched by decades and decades of systematic racism, has across all areas of society.”

Referring to the Scottish government, she said: “I am sure John Swinney or any potential successor as Cabinet Secretary for Education would recognise the significant positive change in society that can be made towards the elimination of racial inequality in Scotland, through educating children and young people about black history, and including black history in the Scottish school curriculum.”

‘Immoral’

Her comments come after a report by the UK Government published this week drew sharp criticism from racial equality advocates who have called it “deeply cynical” and “a truly historic denial of the scale of race inequality in Britain”.

The report claimed that the British system is no longer “deliberately rigged against ethnic minorities,” and that, too often, “racism is the catch-all explanation” for poor life chances.

The commission said the term “institutional racism” should only be applied when deep-seated racism can be proven and that minorities should not “absorb a fatalistic narrative that says the deck is permanently stacked against them”.

It even suggested a more positive reading of the slave trade was possible: “There is a new story about the Caribbean experience which speaks to the slave period not only being about profit and suffering but how culturally African people transformed themselves into a re-modelled African/Britain.”

Rehana Azam, national secretary for the GMB trade union condemned the report as “deeply cynical,” and called it “completely irresponsible and immoral”.

 

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