It comes amid calls to “decolonise” the curriculum by teaching subjects from a less white, male and Euro-centric perspective
Children should be taught about the contribution that ethnic minorities have made to history, the Education Secretary has said.
His comments come amid calls to “decolonise” the curriculum by teaching subjects from a less white, male and Euro-centric perspective.
This week, vice-Chancellors said that universities must review courses and where relevant, include more perspectives from ethnic minorities, in order to help black students close the attainment gap with their white peers.
A report by Universities UK (UUK) found that campuses need to become “racially diverse and inclusive environments” if black, Asian and minority ethnic are to succeed academically.
Asked whether he supports the UUK initiative, Damian Hinds said: “History is history, and things that have happened have happened.
“You learn from them in multiple ways, including learning from bad things that have happened in history, and bad things that have happened in our own history.”
He said it is “absolutely right and proper” that at school as well as university, children learn “a wider variety of history than we used to when we were at school”.
Mr Hinds went on to say that pupils nowadays “learn about people who we didn’t learn about when we were at school. There’s no reason why we shouldn’t have learned about them – we just didn’t, because the curriculum was narrowed in certain ways.
“And I think it is a good thing that it is broad, and it is a good thing that people of all sorts of backgrounds, and all sorts of ethnicities and so on, hear about people from a diverse range of backgrounds and the contribution they have made to history.”
Campaigns aimed at “decolonising” the curriculum have gained pace at universities in recent years, with students and academics calling for syllabi to be re-designed.
A teacher union chief has previously said that schools must look beyond “dead white men” to make the curriculum more diverse.
Dr Mary Bousted, joint general secretary of the National Education Union (NEU), has criticised the national curriculum for failing to include enough black and female writers.
“As an English teacher, I have no problem with Shakespeare, with Pope, with Dryden, with Shelley,” she said at an education summit last year.
“But I knew in a school where there are 38 first languages taught other than English that I had to have Afro-Caribbean writers in that curriculum, I had to have Indian writers, I had to have Chinese writers to enable pupils to foreshadow their lives in the curriculum.”
Source: The Telegraph