• Tuesday, September 27, 2022

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First British South Asian Youth Summit calls for ‘decolonisation’ of education in UK

Besides stressing on the need for a more rounded study of history in the UK, the virtual summit covered aspects such as strengthening democratic institutions, building a progressive, sustainable and inclusive economy, and championing diversity.

By: Eastern Eye Staff

THE inaugural British South Asian Youth Summit, hosted virtually by lawmaker Virendra Sharma, concluded with a joint declaration calling for the “decolonisation” of education in the UK.

The summit, which concluded South Asian Heritage Month in the UK last week, was supported by the Indian High Commission in London and the British Council.

Launched with the aim of fostering cooperation and understanding between South Asia and Britain, the summit included youth delegations from the UK, India, Pakistan, Afghanistan, Nepal, Bangladesh, Bhutan, Sri Lanka and the Maldives.

Besides the need for a more rounded study of history in the UK, the pact agreed at the summit covered aspects such as strengthening democratic institutions, building a progressive, sustainable and inclusive economy, and championing diversity.

“Include all perspectives, particularly in history curricula. In Britain in particular, it is imperative that young Britons learn about all aspects of their history. Increase the teaching of the histories of the countries of South Asia in our own curricula.

“Prioritise decolonisation in order to expand the curriculum and improve both teaching and course content,” read the memorandum of understanding.

“The United Kingdom has an opportunity to offer precedent for South Asian countries to foster inclusive traditions in their policy space and corporate realm.”

The Indian delegation was led by Sanam Arora, chair of National Indian Students and Alumni Union UK, with each delegate providing subject matter expertise in specific areas.

“The Black Lives movement has reignited the need to become anti-racist,” she said. “That starts with what we teach in our history curricula.

“We call upon the British government to include greater and balanced teaching of the role played by the British empire in India, and all over the world.”

The Indian high commissioner to the UK, Gaitri Issar Kumar, called on youth from India and the UK to work together for a bright new era in India-UK relations.

“Bound by shared values and aspirations, our youth can work together to bring innovative, affordable and accessible solutions to global challenges,” she said.

“They are key factors in the unique living bridge between India and the UK and we look forward to their participation and valuable contribution for the prosperity of our people and a better world.”

The Indian high commission here said the central theme for all the engagements was to enhance mutual understanding, greater engagement, clearer understanding of issues so that there would be no scope for misinformation.

Other key points included creating networks for positive messaging, sharing good news from India, good news about India-UK relations, and about new India-UK initiatives.

Eastern Eye

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