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UK Opposition Leader calls for colonial history to be taught in schools

Press Trust of India  |  London 

Britain's Opposition Party on Thursday called for the legacy of the and the impact of on countries like to be taught in schools across the UK.

Party said such a curriculum change was all the more important in the wake of the recent Windrush scandal, involving Commonwealth citizens being wrongly denied their citizenship rights in the UK.

He also unveiled plans for an Emancipation Educational Trust, which would help educate schoolchildren about the impact of slavery and the battle to end the slave trade, as part of an event in to mark October as Black History Month.

"In the light of the Windrush scandal, Black History Month has taken on a renewed significance and it is more important now than ever that we learn and understand as a society the role and legacy of the British Empire, colonisation and slavery," Corbyn said.

"It is vital that future generations understand the role that Black Britons have played in our country's history and the struggle for racial equality," he said.

During the visit, the met UK-based civil rights activist Paul Stephenson, who played a central role in the bus boycott in 1963 aimed at overturning a ban on Britain's ethnic minority population working on the city's buses.

"Black History Month is a crucial chance to celebrate the immense contribution of black Britons to this country, to reflect on our common history and ensure that such grave injustices can never happen again," the said.

"It was the bravery and determination of people like Paul, standing up against injustice, that paved the way for the first Race Relations Act and the outlawing of such discrimination in our country," he added.

At present, colonial history modules are optional within the wider school curriculum. In recent times, Shashi Tharoor, the author of 'Inglorious Empire: What the British Did to India', has called for colonial history to be made a compulsory part of the school curriculum in the UK.

His campaign has found backing among Indian-origin MPs in Britain, including veteran Labour MP Virendra Sharma, who is also behind a specific campaign for the Jallianwala Bagh massacre in during the British Raj to be taught in UK schools.

"I have always campaigned for colonial history to become part and parcel of mainstream education in It is important that the future generations are aware of the role played by the British in the Indian subcontinent, the African continent and other regions," Sharma said.

"The only way to ensure that the mistakes of the past are not repeated is to learn from history," he said.

The Labour Party says that as part of its plans for schools, children will be taken on visits to historical sites as well as cover the African civilisation before colonisation and the "resilience and sacrifice of those enslaved and the struggle for liberation".

(This story has not been edited by Business Standard staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

First Published: Thu, October 11 2018. 17:30 IST