All Scottish schools are being urged to adopt the lessons which would highlight Scotland and the UK’s colonial history. The SNP’s manifesto for the Holyrood elections next month – which Nicola Sturgeon is polled to win – included the plans to include the taxpayer-funded teaching programme inspired by the Black Lives Matter movement.
The manifesto states that the movement, which rose to global prominence after the death of George Floyd, had “shone a powerful spotlight on continuing racial injustice and race-based violence, and the need for countries to face their colonial history.”
It read: “We will create a new programme of anti-racist education in schools, including support for teachers’ professional development, allowing every school to access high-quality anti-racist education.
“To track progress, we will improve the reporting and publication of data on racist incidents in schools.”
Speaking to The Telegraph, Chris Whatley, a Scottish professor of History at the University of Dundee, said he understood why the policy had been proposed but expressed concern that only the negative aspects of the UK’s colonial history would be presented under the SNP scheme.
“Of course slavery is to be condemned,” said Professor Whately.
“A good history programme would recognise the importance of understanding the contexts in which this horrific trade in human beings was then conducted.
“Balance too would be critical – an appreciation that empire was in many respects evil as judged by today’s standards, [but] Scotland today owes much to the gains of empire, an enterprise in which Scots actively participated.”
Reactions to the proposed plans are mixed.Some Scots were angered and condemned the plans.
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Clare Adamson, the SNP candidate for Motherwell and Wishaw told The Telegraph: “The SNP is committed to strengthening education for our young people and recognising the importance of having equality and human rights embedded in our education.
“It is not the case that teaching on racism should be even-handed. Racism is wrong and our schools should say so.”
The manifesto also supports the protection of LGBTQ rights and has promised to improve mental health support.