Posted by: secretperson | July 4, 2008

Global Literacy – or just Political Correctness

Apparently secondary school children in England are not ‘globally literate’, according to ‘global learning’ charity DEA. (Full study: pdf).

One in five hadn’t discussed news stories from around the world in class. No figures were given on how many had discussed news stories from around the UK, or from England. I don’t remember topical news discussions being a major part of my education, I learnt geography, science, maths and english. Maybe they don’t discuss any news? I believe if teachers were freer from central inteference they might bring in more topical issues, but let us not forget these things won’t be on the exam, and league tables are what matters!

I assume citizenship classes would be an appropriate place to discuss current affairs, but they are probably too busy being used to brainwash English students (they are not compulsory in the rest of the UK) into Gordon Brown’s idea of Britishness. A ‘see also’ link led me to the headline Currliculum for ‘Changing Society’. I am sure they meant for a changing society, but the Freudian slip amuses me.

The main report concludes that global learning persuades pupils they can do something to change the world, and makes them more tolerant of people from different backgrounds. Pupils also believe that global learning is important, more than say they are recieving it.

In fact, despite the title of my piece it all sounds a good idea. Education about more issues is always good, although actual literacy is clearly more important than global literacy. What worries me, like citizenship lessons before, is how open to manipulation this is. Facts and critical thinking skills are important, but will that be enough or have they decided what opinions pupils should hold after their global education.

This is demonstrated by the BBC’s story bemoaning the fact

only 50% said it was important to have people of different backgrounds living in the same country

Well you’ll have to work on that then won’t you! Wouldn’t want England being as ‘hideously white’ as the BBC.

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