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Discrimination In Education System

“What source does oppression arises? Does it arise from domination by capital, by patriarchy, or by white power?” Sanip, M. (1991) pg.21 1981 was the year in which the parliamentary Home Affairs Committee on Race Relations and Immigration required schools to examine their format and hidden curriculum to ensure that they provided the means to combat racism and promote equality of opportunities. In order to achieve this, schools and LEAs had to develop policies leading to equality and inclusion. Moreover, if we look at the different multicultural and anti-racist policies that exist at the same time, there are significant differences in what each report’s regarding the objectives and adjectives. In terms of the objectives and adjectives of each policy, there has been an improved performer of ethnic minority pupils at the school level, whereas there is greater access to universities.

However, qualifications had no boundaries against discrimination, the disproportion of ethnic minorities in the urban space is not represented; the full potential of a large number of ethnic minority students was not being met. 1985 Swann-Education for All This was a report on the underachievement level of West Indians compared to Asians and Whites. The gap appeared to be diminishing significantly as time passed, the underachievement gap has deteriorated but there is a much higher chance (10%) of black boys, in particular, to be expelled from schools than their white counterparts. Undoubtedly the achievement of Asians was very high and it seemed the stereotyped views were generally much less negative than how other groups of ethnicity were viewed in the educational system. It could be possible that the racism faced, had a different effect on different groups whereas, it may hold certain people back and deter certain people from believing in themselves and getting on with what they aim to do in life.

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These series of reports and surveys in recent years on the experiences of Black children in the British education system point to high levels of academic under-achievement and exclusion from schools. 1994 -report by the Institute of Race Relations, ‘Outcast England’, highlighted the disproportionate level of exclusions suffered by Black children. One particularly alarming statistic revealed that in London Borough of Brent where Black pupils make up only 17% of the school population, they nevertheless account for 85% of exclusions. There is a direct link between under-achievement and exclusions that can be detected in the research data. The available research shows that African-Caribbean pupils are six times more likely to be excluded than White children and reveals a dramatic increase in the levels of exclusions in both primary and secondary schools. The report on “Recent Research on the achievement of Ethnic Minority Pupils” published in September 1996, came to the same conclusion.

Socio-economic has played a vital factor in the low attainment of different races e.g. racial discrimination in employment and housing for example research was done by Gillborn, D. and Gipps, C. (1996) indicates that ethnic minority pupils who come from backgrounds where they experience disproportionately higher rates of deprivation and unemployment it is evident in their achievement levels compared to their peers who have had a different upbringing. Research is done by both Becker (1952), Sharp and Green (1975) suggest that teachers differentiate between pupils according to how they are classified and typed by the ways in which they vary from the ideal; social class factors have been founded to be reflected in teachers ‘specifications’ of the ideal pupil.

All LEAs and schools must lead pupils to understand what is involved in Britain’s begin multicultural and multiracial society. The majority of schools promote the multicultural and multiracial of Britain through the differences of the pupils in their schools to the teaching structure that incorporates the languages used by all pupils Black, Irish and Asian etc. Racism and Education Structures and Strategies pg. 28 In many schools teachers view Asian boys as having more motivation than other races, there seems to be the view that there is more input from their families and that this has a lot more determination to succeed. Asians were seen to have great listening skills whereas the view is no different to white boys and Afro-Caribbean children with regards to their ability to learn and excel themselves.

Gill suggests that some teachers often saw Rastafarian children as a particular threat to classroom management. There is a problem of a small child trying to negotiate a world, which they have been made aware of the fact that is a racist one. …They are sort of getting their own back from a racist white world. All age-group teachers (nursery, primary and secondary) were commonly known to see Black boys as troublemakers. They were automatically labelled disruptive and Asian children (male or female) received negative attention due to the fact some teachers would presume Asian children cannot speak English and little or no sympathy was given. This tends to be evident in nursery school children. In the early 1980s, there was a rise in racist incidents in and around schools in London, Coventry and elsewhere.

The Dewsbury dispute. Many white parents refused to send their children to the local school-Headfield where 80% of their pupils were Asians. Headfield is a Church of England school. The arguments used by the white parents in Dewsbury were similar to those used by parents back in the 1960s that Black children were “swamping” the schools. Black pupils were seen as a posing problem in terms of numbers, their intelligence, their languages and their cultures. Black children experience racism from teachers, from other pupils and through the overt and covert curriculum. Many schools are at fault because they did not recognize the needs of the Black pupils needs. The experience for white children of being in everyday contact with Black youngsters generates contradictory dynamics, towards racial equality and the changing effects on relationships, but also towards the existing social processes within children’s cultures.

White children resent schools’ apparent privileging of ethnic minority cultures and as a corollary, the devaluation of their own. Many schools of contemporary Britain are motivated by the believes that if they work alongside the communities it will raise the standards of pupils’ achievement; effective learning occurs when parents, families and wider community are involved; the community can make an important contribution to school curriculum; working with the community can benefit everyone and the attempts to meet the needs of local people irrespective of age, gender, sexuality, race, background, level of ability, health and economic circumstances. The Policy Action Teams 11’s work highlighted a number of issues, which need to be addressed if more schools are to participate more fully in community education:

  • There is a real danger that without support, schools in disadvantaged areas do not access the significant additional money available to support the Government’s lifelong learning initiatives.
  • Schools need to reflect and serve the full and diverse range of pupils within them. Ethnic minorities are under-represented as both governors and Chair of governors. This imbalance needs to be addressed.

It is important that schools are places where black culture and identity is recognized, validated and reflected both in the ethos of the school and in the curriculum content. The team was impressed by the work undertaken by many Supplementary and Mother Tongue Schools (SMTS). Working with mainstream schools and supporting activity in the classroom, while maintaining their distinctive contribution, effective and well-run SMTS can do much to improve the learning and cultural opportunities for ethnic minority communities. Taken from the DfEE Schools plus policy website: – Greater Involvement of the Community in the School and the School in the Community. Within Circular 4/98 initial teacher training will include the integration into the courses that combine the benefits of family, community and study support activity in helping raise attainment.

All initial teachers’ training should include experiences of working in disadvantaged, including multi-cultural, areas. Blair, M. and Bourne, J. (1998) ‘Making the Difference’ Teachers and Learning in Successful Multi-Ethnic Schools, Open University/DfEE research report RR59 Raising ethnic minority achievement. At present it is not possible to know what each racial group is achieving, however, by the year 2002, it will be possible to computerize individual pupil data. Moreover, surveys like Youth Cohort Survey, indicate that although there has been widespread improvement in average GCSE performance, not all pupils have shared equally in this trend. This is especially apparent among pupils of Black, Pakistani and Bangladeshi origin. There are many complex factors that affect differential attainment.

A recent Ofsted report in 1999 indicated that rises in the attainment of ethnic minority pupils’ schools need to challenge their under-performance. A good school, with strong leadership and tracking systems, will benefit all pupils, regardless of ethnic origin. Effective schools involve teachers, pupils and the local community in re-evaluating the school ethos. Equality, anti-bullying and racial harassment policies can also make a difference. The National Numeracy and Literacy Projects 1996-1998 have shown progress among pupils from all ethnic groups, with no significant differences in progress between ethnic groups. The GCSE results for 16-year-olds in 1999

  • 6.1% (35,000) did not obtain any GCSE grades A-G
  • 9.7% (56,000) did not obtain English GCSE grades A-G

The Key Stage 2 tests in 1999 showed the percentages of 11-year-olds at level 3 and below as:

  • English 27.5% (173,000)
  • Mathematics 28.9% (182,000)

The number of pupils who are disadvantaged from circumstances beyond their control the results of the underachievement are more acute:

  • Around 24% of students in disadvantaged schools gained 5+ GCSE A-Cs against the national average of 46%
  • At KS2 maths 54% of students in disadvantaged schools reached level 4 against the national average of 69%
  • At KS2 English 54% of pupils in disadvantaged areas reached level 4 against the national average of 70%

The link between educational failure and crime has been made by a number of studies and the evidence is laid out in more detail in the figures above; it is estimated that youth crime is costing the public services over ½1 billion. The results of poor basic skills have long-term consequences for individuals and society as a whole, more generally- only half of the adults with poor literacy skills have a job compared with four out of five adults with the best literacy skills. However, people who go onto further education will have considerably higher earnings than those who leave school at 16. There should be no inherent reason why people from disadvantaged areas should be less successful than those from affluent areas. The Ofsted report “Improving City Schools” (March 2000) shows relatively high achieving schools in poor areas often demonstrate some or all of the following characteristics:

  • Teaching staff will have effective techniques for dealing with more challenging pupils;
  • Study support activities for young people during school hours;
  • Strong parental involvement and support and
  • Active involvement of local business and community organizations.

Over the past 20 years, the educational system has had to adapt to the needs of their Ethnic pupils but there still remains more changes that need to apply if today’s society is to represent in the correct light the whole population and the contributions of that, Ethnic Minority people have done to shape contemporary Britain. Children today are more exposed to everyday disadvantages no matter where they live there is always something on the news, in the newspapers and through schools that show racism still exists within the classrooms and outside. The policy can help change things for the better but they can not make a change on their own, there needs to be more awareness in the classroom and outside that illustrates Ethnic Minorities do have a positive image and can have equal opportunities in achieving the same goals as their White counterparts.

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