Children should be taught about ethnic minorities' history, says education secretary

As reported by The Telegraph, Damian Hinds has stated that all children in England should learn about the contribution of ethnic minorities to history

The education secretary, Damian Hinds, has stated that children across England should be taught about ethnic minorities’ contribution to history.

Hinds said this in response to calls to ‘decolonise’ the curriculum; he wants schools to teach subjects from a less white, male, Euro-centric perspective.

Last week, vice-chancellors stated that universities must review their teachings and include more ethnic minority perspectives and information.

The hope is that this will help to close the attainment gap between black students and their white peers.

A report by Universities UK (UUK) has found that campuses need to become “racially diverse and inclusive environments” if BAME students are to succeed academically.

In response to this research, 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”.

He added that pupils and students now “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.”

Dr Mary Bousted, joint general secretary of the National Education Union (NEU), has previously 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.”

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