In a BBC article last week the outspoken poet Benjamin Zephaniah said that ‘multiculturalism is under attack’ because Asian and Black history is not taught properly in British schools. In a week where teachers have been accused of not being inspirational and required to take more stringent tests, Benjamin Zephaniah claims that many history teachers cannot name an early African philosopher. Having been educated in the British education system all my life, I can’t name one off the top of my head either, so I will be doing some research after writing this post!
The History Curriculum Association chief Chris McGovern, claims that parents and children from ethnic minority backgrounds prefer to learn about British history because they are tired with the depressing horror stories of oppression and abuse that surround some of the history of Asia, the Caribbean and Africa. While Benjamin Zephaniah is campaigning for Asian/African history to become part of the school curriculum, some professionals in the education system disagree with him, believing that children should only be taught the history of the society in which they live.
I think history is very important and understand that it does make sense to learn about the society in which you live but when I was at school we were not even taught about contributions of black people in Britain let alone what they did in Africa or the Caribbean, and I am sure that not only Indian children could benefit from learning about the life of Mahatma Gandhi. In the USA black history is taught in schools.
The UK is predominately white and in any democratic society the majority rules; but in previous British colonies in Asia, the Caribbean and Africa wasn’t British history taught in schools? Black/Asian history should not be marketed as just for children from ethnic minorities, because British history isn’t only taught to white children. There isn’t enough time to teach children everything and parents need to play an active role but I think the government should make provisions for Black/Asian history to be taught to all students and actively promote this, with the same zeal used to promote extra-curricular activities such as sport, (especially since the London 2012 Olympics) and drama. There should also be more of a focus black history before slavery and the role of Africans in Renaissance Britain, for example!
Education is extremely important and unlike in the UK, it is not free in parts of Africa and Asia. With Love From Friends is a UK based charity aiming to, ‘impact positive change through education in Nigeria’ by providing educational resources to children. They are having an 80’s themed fundraising party on 10th November to raise money for their latest educational project. Check them out!
Happy Black History Month 🙂
Never forget the importance of history. To know nothing of what happened before you took your place on earth, is to remain a child for ever and ever. – source unknown
doubleaad : AdelinA