In response to official concerns about terrorism, a review panel was invited to consider how ethnic, religious and cultural diversity might be addressed in the school curriculum for England, specifically through the teaching of modern British social and cultural history and citizenship. While the report gives impetus to teaching about diversity, it does not strengthen the curriculum framework proposed in the Crick report. I analyse how the review panel conceptualises identity, democracy and diversity. I then consider its assumptions about racism, human rights, and citizenship education, concluding with reflections on how citizenship education might be developed in the task of re-imagining the nation and meeting the needs of emergent cosmopolitan citizens. Keywords: identities; multiculturalism; human rights; racism; cosmopolitanism; globalisation Introduction Following the London bombings on 7 July , a number of senior UK government ministers made speeches on diversity, integration and multiculturalism in Britain.
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In response to official concerns about terrorism, a review panel was invited to consider how ethnic, religious and cultural diversity might be addressed in the school curriculum for England, specifically through the teaching of modern British social and cultural history and citizenship.
While the report gives impetus to teaching about diversity, it does not strengthen the curriculum framework proposed in the Crick report. I analyse how the review panel conceptualises identity, democracy and diversity. I then consider its assumptions about racism, human rights, and citizenship education, concluding with reflections on how citizenship education might be developed in the task of re-imagining the nation and meeting the needs of emergent cosmopolitan citizens.
Keywords: identities; multiculturalism; human rights; racism; cosmopolitanism; globalisation Introduction Following the London bombings on 7 July , a number of senior UK government ministers made speeches on diversity, integration and multiculturalism in Britain.
Although education was a stated priority of the Blair government from the election, it was only after the terrorist attacks that senior government figures began to stress the importance of education in uniting the nation. Later that year the Prime Minister Tony Blair spoke for the first time about education, British values and the importance of multiculturalism Blair In the government ordered a review which set out to examine ways in which ethnic, religious and cultural diversity might be addressed within the school curriculum for England, specifically through the teaching of modern British social and cultural history and citizenship.
The DfES also commissioned a research study, consisting of a literature review and case study research Maylor et al. The literature review which Maylor and her colleagues undertook was ambitious given the timescale, covering diversity, ethnicity, identity, citizenship, history and other curriculum areas. Osler leeds. Osler This article examines the report of the Ajegbo Panel DfES a , which was commissioned at a time of heightened public debate about citizenship, national identity, the integration of minor- ities and multiculturalism.
This ongoing debate has been unfolding since the summer of , following British National Party BNP activity and the subsequent participation of White and South Asian youths in disturbances and riots in a number of northern towns. The attacks of 11 September in the US and more particularly the London terrorist attacks on 7 July increased the intensity of debates about diversity and belonging and have given them an international dimension.
In commissioning the Ajegbo report, the government made a direct link between the need to counter terrorist activity and to strengthen national identity and British values through the curriculum. These concepts are all taking on changing meanings in the context of a developing national and international policy discourse on security and terror. I also reflect on the assumptions of the Ajegbo report about racism, human rights, citizenship, and the role of citizenship education and history education in the shaping of identities within a society characterised by diversity.
Although there have been no independently funded large scale research studies of citizenship learning and teaching in schools since citizenship was introduced into the national curriculum for England in , the Ajegbo Panel was in a position to benefit from a broad range of research, scholarship and curriculum development in this field and in the field of race, ethnicity and educa- tion.
The research presented to the Ajegbo Panel by Maylor and her colleagues drew on existing literature reviews on citizenship and democracy in schools, notably on a review of the literature on education for democratic citizenship EDC conducted on behalf of the British Educa- tional Research Association BERA Osler and Starkey and on another review undertaken as part of the DfES longitudinal study on the implementation of citizenship education in schools Kerr and Cleaver I examine the extent to which the Ajegbo report draws on and interprets this body of knowledge.
I conclude with some reflections on the type of citizenship education needed if we are to re-imagine the nation as cosmopolitan and equip young people to participate in an increasingly globalised world. I draw on theoretical scholarship on education for cosmopolitan citizenship Osler and Vincent ; Osler and Starkey , and empirical data in which we have analysed the perspectives of young people, teachers and policy-makers on issues of citizenship and belonging and on identity, diversity and school leadership Osler ; Osler and Morrison , ; Osler and Starkey , , From Crick to Ajegbo: citizenship and structural inequalities The Crick report QCA , which provided a rationale and a framework for the development of citizenship education in England, proposed a framework for citizenship learning consisting of London Review of Education 13 three inter-related strands: social and moral responsibility towards those in authority and each other; community involvement, including service to the community; and political literacy or the knowledge, skills and values to be effective in public life.
DfES a, 97 It proposes that learning will include contextualised understanding of the UK as a multinational state; immigration; the Commonwealth and the legacy of empire; the European Union; and the extension of the franchise.
I focus in this section on whether, in proposing this new strand, the Ajegbo report adds anything to the conceptual framework proposed by the working group led by Crick. The Crick report was subject to a number of criticisms for the ways in which it addressed questions of race, equality and difference.
I argue that any programme of citizenship education needs to enable young people to identify and understand the barriers to citizenship and equip them with the skills to challenge and overcome those barriers. Identifying racism as one of the key forces which undermine democracy in Europe, I noted how the Crick report makes no mention of racism when it makes the case the education for citizenship in the light of perceived threats to democracy.
I argue that tolerance is an important but inadequate response within a society characterised by diversity and deep inequalities. Tolerance needs to be balanced by legal guarantees of equality of rights and the absence of discrimination, not just at an interper- sonal level but also within the structures of government, in communities, in the workplace, and in key services such as housing, health and education Osler In other words, we need to address structural inequality and institutional racism.
The Crick report to some degree reflects, rather than challenges, the institutionalised racism of British society: it characterises minorities as having a deficit; it uses patronising language and stereotypes in its depiction of these groups; and it compounds these problems by failing to address racism and other structural disadvan- tages which act as a key barrier to full and equal citizenship.
Olssen notes that while the Crick report overlooks racism, to address it would not compromise the theoretical coherence of the Crick model. In a parallel discussion I suggest that the Crick report can be complemented by both the Parekh report and by Democracy and diversity: principles and concepts for educating citizens in a global age Banks et al.
The Banks report provides a model which is inclusive and which sees diversity as a strength but which also looks beyond the boundaries of the nation state, acknowledges the forces of globalisa- tion, and addresses tensions between unity and diversity at all levels, not just at the local 14 A.
Osler level establishing community cohesion or the national level re-imagining the nation as cosmopolitan but at the global level. At all these levels the Banks report recognises issues of power and considers structural inequalities. Crick wishes to promote free and equal citizenship, yet it is not clear how this will be achieved if we are unable to name racism in the classroom, to engage directly with it as a barrier to equal citizenship, examine ways in which it serves to deny citizenship and citizenship rights, and identify strate- gies for overcoming it.
The Ajegbo report, published some nine years later, has helped set a climate which might encourage schools to take forward questions of diversity and identity in a pragmatic way. The Ajegbo Panel was asked to review ethnic, religious and racial diversity across the curriculum. It addresses issues of learning to live together in a diverse society and places these issues at the centre of educational debates.
Importantly, it refers to the legal framework of the Race Relations [Amendment] Act RRAA which requires schools as public bodies to promote race equality. It also sets its deliberations in the context of the duty which all maintained schools have from September , under the Education and Inspections Act , to promote community cohesion. This legal contextualisation gives it strength. The Ajegbo report notes that many schools have not complied with the RRAA, and that only two thirds have taken the initial step of developing a policy DfES , It rightly identifies this as a leadership issue see Osler and recognises the importance of checks and balances at school and local authority level.
Only one of 24 recommendations in the Ajegbo report is partially directed at Ofsted, but this addresses new legal requirements not the RRAA. It fails, however, to consider why, when schools are accountable through inspection, that some five years after the implementation of the RRAA these processes of inspection and accountability are not producing higher rates of compliance.
My own research into Ofsted and race equality Osler and Morrison , would suggest that there may be much more that Ofsted can do to promote compliance with the RRAA, and that this is not only a leadership issue for schools but also an issue for Ofsted.
Ajegbo complements Crick by renewing this focus and in reminding schools of their legal duties. Crick draws on a civic republican model which emphasises the duty of the citizen to participate in public affairs; to respect the rights and freedoms of the nation state and its democratic values; observe its laws and fulfil the duties and obligations of citizenship.
One difficulty in applying this model to citizenship learning in the context of a largely authoritarian school system is that the civic virtue of respecting the rights and freedoms of the nation-state can be distorted so as to imply that all forms of dissent are problematic. Dissent may arise, for example, out of commitment to the society and out of solidarity with fellow citizens whose rights are under threat.
It can be expressed with the intention of upholding the democratic values of the nation state. To take an unpopular stand can demand civic courage. London Review of Education 15 Criticisms of established and institutionalised practices may stem from a desire to restore shared democratic principles. Such criticisms may reflect a commitment to the nation-state and reflect social and moral responsibility, rather than disloyalty.
A further difficulty with the model of citizenship proposed in the Crick report is the implication that since legal safeguards are in place, full and equal citizenship for all is realised.
The model allows little if any space for the stories of those who continue to experience barriers in fully realising their citizenship rights. As I have sought to demonstrate, the Ajegbo report does not change the conceptual frame- work proposed by Crick. A critical analysis of the strengths and limitations of legal safeguards as a way of securing race equality would have strengthened the Ajegbo Review.
It is to this issue I now turn. Critical thinking on race and multiculturalism Despite the assertion in the Ajegbo report that schools need to adopt critical thinking on ethnicity, religion and race DfES a, 97 , the report itself does not achieve this.
As discussed above, what is missing from the report is an explanation of why significant numbers of schools are half-hearted or worse in their compliance with race relations legislation.
There is no proper acknowledgement of the structural disadvantage which students from particular ethnic groups encounter, expressed, for example, in differential examination outcomes and exclusion rates Osler and Hill ; Gillborn and Mirza ; Tikly et al.
Unfortu- nately the problem of racism is deeply embedded in our education system and is not confined to students or to structural issues. Both teachers and student teachers from visible minorities may experience abuse as well as career disadvantage Osler ; Basit et al. Although the report acknowledges that many predominantly White schools do not recognise racism as their concern Gaine , , there is a lack of critical analysis on this issue.
This is the model they largely endorse. The latter were keen to provide the politically correct explanation of why colonialism and imperialism have resulted in a world in which racism, class inequalities and sexual oppression are ubiquitous round the world.
DfES , 26 The language of the report, referring to political correctness when discussing global inequal- ities, has the effect of trivialising the barriers to full citizenship and some of the gross injustices and human rights abuses in the world, issues about which many young people feel passionately see Osler and Starkey , Not all scholars in the s and s in Britain and internationally agreed there was an inevitable conflict between anti-racist and multicultural education; some sought a synthesis between the two see Leicester , , with Figueroa arguing that both were necessary in 16 A.
The claim that debates about multiculturalism and anti- racism went into abeyance is also to ignore ongoing research and scholarship in the field, including work on critical multiculturalism and critical pedagogy for example, McLaren ; Sleeter and McLaren ; Apple ; Giroux and ongoing work on critical race theory Ladson- Billings It also overlooks both research and policy development in the field of intercultural education for example Coulby ; Luciak , some of it critical, in Europe.
In this sense, the Ajegbo Review is a missed opportunity to engage with research and inform policy. It is worth reflecting briefly on different meanings and uses of the terms multicultural and multiculturalism.
The term multicultural is currently used in a number of ways. First, it can be understood as a descriptive term relating to the cultural diversity of a society or organisation. Multiculturalism in this second sense refers to policies and organisational and institutional arrangements. This is how the term tends to be used by sociologists. In schools, the adjective multicultural is most commonly associated with the curriculum, which might be multicultural whether or not the school population is diverse.
Multiculturalism can and should be applied to a whole population, not just to minority cultural communities Parekh Other aspects of school organisation and planning such as timetabling; the calendar and holidays; staffing policies; or partnerships with parents and the community might be developed taking into consideration the diverse cultures, religious and ethnic backgrounds of the school population.
At the level of the nation state multicultural institutional practices might include legal arrangements. Different models of multiculturalism can be followed, so in this sense there are many multiculturalisms. I have referred above to a romantic form of multiculturalism in education prevalent in Britain in the s and s which simply sought to celebrate difference. This model of multiculturalism ignores structural inequalities and commonly limits its horizons to within the boundaries of the nation state.
Liberal multiculturalism has tended to confine itself within the boundaries of the nation and to neglect the wider global picture. Multiculturalism has also been used to describe political movements and struggles when marginalised groups have demanded maintenance and recognition of their cultures in the face of assimilationist demands.
Such political movements, including movements which challenge assimilationist education systems, tend to have a critical and antiracist agenda. Finally, multiculturalism is used by political philosophers to theorise societal responses to diversity see, for example, Kymlicka In other words, we can either continue to develop piecemeal multicultural policies or systemically apply ourselves to what multicultural citizenship might look like.
With its backward glance to the tentative multicultural initiatives in education in the s, and its neglect of the wider interna- tional picture, the Ajegbo Panel misses the opportunity to make a significant contribution to current debates on citizenship and citizenship education in a global age.
Critical race theory CRT , which begins with the notion that racism is an everyday reality, may, as Ladson-Billings suggests, provide us with deeper insights into the processes of citizenship education.
As schooling purports to prepare citizens, she suggests that critical race theory may provide us with understandings of how citizenship and race might interact, so informing our thinking about citizenship education. I am not suggesting that the authors of the Ajegbo report should have taken on the task of applying CRT to the education of young citizens London Review of Education 17 in England but that the Ajegbo report makes mistaken and ill-informed claims about the state of research and scholarship relating to multiculturalism and racial justice.
It seems that an imperfect understanding of recent scholarship on whiteness4 and its impli- cations for education policies and practices in Britain Pearce ; Gillborn leads the Ajegbo panel to suggest that what is required is to add White identities to the list of those which should be celebrated. The example cited is, in fact, from a case study school in the East Midlands visited by the researchers commissioned to support the Ajegbo Panel.
In the full example Maylor et al.
Dr. Obiora Ajegbo
But repor also warned that it might be difficult to add the new themes to an already-crowded curriculum. Citizenship is already compulsory in secondary schools. How dare they try to teach Britishness in only English schools! E-mail this to a friend Printable version. It is vitally important that the government and the media address this fundamental issue as well. E-mail this to a friend.
Identity and Diversity
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