Campaign to eliminate race hate targets the classroom

By Andrew Denholm

SCHOOLS and colleges are the new frontline in the fight to eradicate racism from Scottish society.

Thousands of teachers and lecturers will gather in Glasgow today to discuss how education can be used to combat all forms of prejudice.

Organised by the Educational Institute of Scotland (EIS) teaching union, the event will be addressed by MSP Anas Sarwar, convener of Holyrood’s cross-party group on tackling Islamophobia, and officials from Show Racism the Red Card.

Earlier this year, Glasgow University academics told the cross-party group the belief Scotland was immune to racism and culturally different to England was a “misleading fantasy”.

University analysis showed the per capita rate of murders with a known or suspected race element in Scotland was higher than in the rest of the UK between 2000 and 2013.

They also highlighted data showing black and minority ethnic applicants for large public sector organisations had a 1.1 per cent chance of being appointed, compared to 8.1% for their white counterparts.

Last year, a poll of Edinburgh primary pupils found Muslim pupils had been called “terrorists” at school, while some girls had their hijab veils torn off by classmates.

Mr Sarwar said there were major challenges facing Scottish society with everyday racism, sexism, homophobia, anti-Semitism and Islamophobia.

He said: “Education is rightly seen as the vehicle to break the cycle of poverty, but it is also the vehicle to defeat prejudice and hate.

“Teaching a child can help educate and change a family, and it can educate and change a community.”

Priya Khindria, campaign manager for Show Racism the Red Card, said it was vital anti-racist education was included in the curriculum.

He said: “As a multi-ethnic and multi-cultural society, Scotland’s young people need to be educated about these topics. It is not simply enough to discipline those who exhibit racist behaviours. We must be pro-active in teaching young people to prevent racist incidents from occurring.

“Embedding anti-racist education across the curriculum will also make teachers aware of how they should respond to these types of behaviours.”

The event comes as the EIS launches new teaching materials on tackling racist and anti-Muslim attitudes.

Larry Flanagan, the union’s general secretary, said the publications were more urgent than ever following the growth of the far right across Europe and an increase in racist attitudes.

He said: “An important task now is for all members to take forward the anti-racist campaign by challenging prejudice wherever and whenever it occurs, be it in the playground, the classroom or the staff room.”

The new teaching materials advise teachers to be especially vigilant for any signs of name calling, abuse and bullying, particularly of Muslim pupils or staff.

In the immediate aftermath of a high-profile terrorist attack, it calls on staff to be aware of the risk of pupils being targeted.

It also calls on headteachers and deputy heads to be sensitive to the

This article provided by NewsEdge.