Would A Curriculum By Any Other Name Be Less Eurocentric?
Different institutes, one secondary level education the other tertiary yet the same conclusion - the curriculum is outdated with a overwhelming focus on Eurocentric history with no place for women. In other words it’s male, pale and stale.
First up were the sixth-form girls at Steatham and Clapham High School who wrote to the Education Secretary calling for traditional pieces such as MacBeth to be replaced by texts by eminent female authors. This was shortly followed by students members of Goldsmiths Anti-Racist Action occupying Deptford town hall in protest over a racist attack on a campus election poster, but more widely in reaction to the experience of the Universities 40% BAME students.
Mona Monour, the student union Welfare and Liberation Officer was recently quoted in The Guardian:
“From harassment in classrooms to a lack of mental health provision, a Eurocentric curriculum and an outrageous BAME attainment gap, every day students and staff of colour experience interpersonal and institutional racism.”
These are galling revelations simply because the prevailing wisdom is that places of education (particularly universities) should be progressive by their very nature not bastions of racism and bigotry. That is clearly not the case.
The impressive young ladies at Streatham and Clapham High School have it right. Fighting this ideology starts early and it starts with the curriculum. Should we really be exposing young febrile minds to the works of Shakespeare which are rife with violence, sexism and racism? How about other common texts such as Harper Lee’s admittedly well intentioned whitesplaining of racism in To Kill A Mockongbird? Would it not be better to have an authentic black voice such as Afua Hirsch or Toni Morrison?
This is not to advocate the banning of such texts completely - any curious student can and should be able to access them, but is it really wise to make them proscribed reading for impressionable minds?
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