The government of Wales has expressed its commitment to creating an Anti-Racist Wales by 2030 which seeks zero tolerance for racism in all its forms.
By: Shubham Ghosh
In a bid to counter the challenge of racism, teachers in Wales are being trained in anti-racism after students have spoken in detail about the uncomfortable experience they faced — in terms of racist bullying and feeling isolated at their places of study.
The government of Wales on Wednesday (12) issued a press release in which it expressed its commitment to creating an Anti-Racist Wales by 2030 which seeks zero tolerance for racism in all its forms. It said to meet the goal, Wales’s education system has to widen the students’ understanding and knowledge of diverse cultures that have built its past and present.
Wales is the first UK nation which has made the history of Britain’s colonial past mandatory in schools.
Betty Campbell MBE, Wales’s first black headteacher, has already pioneered a curriculum that includes histories of black, Asian, and minority ethnic groups, the government said. It added that one of Campbell’s former pupils, Chantelle Haughton, principal lecturer in Early Childhood Education at Cardiff Metropolitan University, was engaged in a national approach to equip all educational staff members with the knowledge, skills, empathy, and confidence to celebrate diversity.
The government said that resources, training, and guidance for educational professionals are available together through the DARPL virtual campus. The project is led by a coalition of experienced partners to support those who are employed in education to develop anti-racist practice.
It also said that the grassroots of the project were started earlier in 2022 with anti-racist professional training for school-based practitioners, the release added. The plan is to expand the horizons as provisions will extend to early years and further the education practitioners from the autumn term while a new anti-racist professional learning module for senior education leaders will kick off in the spring.
The minister for education and Welsh language, Jeremy Miles, who launched the project at Llanwern High School alongside DARPL director Chantelle Haughton and Rachel Clarke, Campbell’s granddaughter and a partner in delivering and steering DARPL, said, “It’s been a pleasure to launch this exciting project at Llanwern High School, while seeing the important work pupils and teachers are already doing to make their school and teaching truly anti-racist.
“This high-quality national approach to professional learning will help the education workforce deliver a curriculum which reflects and respects everyone.”
But it will still take a long effort to win the battle. The BBC has cited figures to report that in Wales’s schools, only 35 teachers identify as black and 75 as Asian while nearly 26,000 as white.
Miles acknowledged how challenging the task is to make the teaching community more ethnically diverse and said more is needed to be accomplished, the BBC added.
Among the pupils, stats showed that for the 2021-22 academic year, more than 350,000 said they were white British while only 51,128 were from other ethnic backgrounds.
Speaking to the BBC, many students recalled their experiences of facing racist bullying. Even one teacher spoke of feeling alone and hoped that the training would bring a positive change.
Ifan, a pupil at Ysgol Glantaf in Cardiff who said he faced racism, told the BBC that he thought it was more about lack of education than being cruel.
“If we can educate the teachers and the younger pupils, it will reduce – it will make a huge difference I believe,” he added.