Now isn’t the time to ‘decolonise’ the curriculum

Who will educate the educators, when the educators get things wrong? This week, one of Britain’s leading teaching unions passed a motion to ‘decolonise’ all subjects in the secondary school curriculum: not just history or English, but all subjects, including food technology, computer science, geography, and maths. Black history must be ‘fully embedded’ across the curriculum, NASUWT’s president, Michelle Codrington-Rogers, said. What started out as a laudatory attempt to teach black students that their history is much more than slavery and colonialism, has led to a sad, pathetic, hyperbolic overreaching. Black Maths? What is that? The only name of any mathematician I ever learnt at high school was Pythagoras, and no one

Britain’s slave trade and the problem with ‘decolonisation’

Colonialism and slavery. There is, of course, a connection between them. Yet the reason for our present interest in the topic assumes something stronger – not merely a connection, but an equation. That is why we are told we have to ‘decolonise’ ourselves. Because until we do, the vicious racism that slavery incarnated will continue to be our own. The assumption, however, is mistaken. It is true that the British were heavily involved in trading slaves across the Atlantic from Africa to the Caribbean and the southern colonies of North America, mostly between 1660 and 1807. Britain transported around 3 million Africans in conditions that were infamously dreadful, with human