There’s a movement insisting that the university curriculums must be decolonised. This is idiocy.The UK has more foreign students than anywhere other than perhaps the US. The reason all those not-British peeps are coming here for an education is because they desire the British education. The very success at recruiting Johnny Foreigner shows that we don’t need – nor want – to have a more Johnny Foreigner friendly syllabus. Because what is it they’re coming here for? Well, it ain’t to be be taught about or as Johnny Foreigner, is it?
Those who do desire that are presumably gaining their degrees in Cape Town, Bombay and Beijing.
On the other hand, the idea that our vibrant enriched schools might need a tad more vibrancy is just fine. Because the point of teaching 7 year olds is not to actually teach them very much – other than the basic tools of R, R and R with which they can then learn other things – but to get them interested in the very idea of learning anyfing.
When trying to get a child to read it doesn’t matter a damn whether they read the King James, the back of King Gillette packets or James King. Zane Grey, Zachary Taylor speeches and Zebediah the Poet all work too. The aim, the struggle, is simply to get the anklebiters reading a few thousand words of anything at all.
Sadly, the two different points have got garbled here:
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”.
The correct answer here is that adults should be taught what is relevant to the specific subject they’re trying to become expert in. To the extent – large perhaps – that physics by Jews is correct they should be taught physics by Jews. To the extent that physics by Whitey – or any other grouping – is incorrect they should not be taught it, unless as examples of how to be interestingly wrong. Rutherford getting the age of the Earth wrong is a good cautionary tale.
Children should be taught using any examples and or sources that gain children’s interest. Because that’s the difficult thing to achieve. All the rest about race, colonialism, culture, is bunkum.
Then we get to this:
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.”
Dr. Mary appears sadly illeducated. That connection between language and the source of the writing doesn’t work. Afro-Caribbeans for example – what source language are we going to use? We’ve not got anyone who has been writing in Papiamento that I know of. Not even sure there’s a Bible translation into that language although would welcome correction on that point. So, we will need writers – recall, her connection is to first language – in English, French, perhaps Spanish, at a stretch Dutch or even Danish. Which isn’t her point, is it?
She is saying that we should have writers from places which match the second or third generation sources of the pupils. But she’s connecting that to first languages, something that doesn’t work.
Still, I do like the idea of more Indian writers. Time Kipling was reinstated, no?