Iranian schoolkids are studying antisemitism, hatred and conspiratorial material in their textbooks, including a theory that Western media hyped up the COVID-19 pandemic to thwart large-scale attendance at last year’s celebration of the Iranian revolution, according to a comprehensive study published by the Anti-Defamation League (ADL) Thursday. The ADL said its report, “Incitement: Antisemitism and Violence in Iran’s Current State Textbooks,” is the first comprehensive study of antisemitism, intolerance and extremism in the official Iranian school curriculum in nearly half a decade. The study was published on the 42nd anniversary of the 1979 revolution that saw the rise of the current autocratic, conservative Islamic regime which has long threatened to destroy Israel and which is now battling US sanctions imposed to curb its nuclear activity. Last year, in response to the global pandemic, Tehran updated school textbooks to include a conspiracy theory alleging that Western media exaggerated the coronavirus to drive down turnout at crowded ceremonies for the regime’s 41st anniversary, said report author David Weinberg. Complete Article HERE
Authorities in Turkey made dozens of new arrests in cities across the country Thursday, after downplaying international criticism—including U.S. condemnation—of President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s crackdown on university student rallies. According to police, about 600 people have been detained since January 4 as protests spread in the capital, Ankara, and in Istanbul. Erdogan has accused student demonstrators of being terrorists for protesting his appointment of a new rector at Bogazici University in Istanbul, one of the country’s top schools of higher education. For over a month, students, faculty members and alumni of Bogazici University have protested Erdogan’s appointment of Turkish politician and academic Melih Bulu, demanding an election to choose a rector from the university’s own faculty. Bulu holds a doctorate from Bogazici’s business management program but has never been a full-time academic at the university. Critics accused him of plagiarism in his dissertation and published articles and called for his resignation. Bulu has denied those accusations. His involvement in politics also stirred controversy over his appointment, since he once ran for parliament as a candidate for Erdogan’s ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP). Complete Article HERE
January 24 is considered the ‘International Day of Education; Afghanistan also celebrates this day, as in the last 20 years, one of the greatest accomplishments has been increasing access to education for all Afghans. Despite the tremendous achievements, 3.7 million Afghan children are still deprived of education. This country opened its first modern school around 117 years ago, but still has a long way to go to popularize education in the highly traditional society. Opposition to girl’s education is still a serious challenge. During the Taliban regime, girls and women were utterly banned from public appearance and going to schools. That period is considered the darkest era for girl’s education. Complete Article HERE
Illuminated by the winter sun streaming through her bedroom window, 13-year-old Fatema reads through the half-dozen books spread across her desk. In Bangladesh, Fatema is one of the 42 million children who have been out of school for almost 12 months. Spurred by the pandemic, inequality between students threatens to grow deeper and wider in 2021. The lack of technology at home and limited connection to the internet, together with economic instability, puts girls, rural students and socio-economically disadvantaged children at risk of being left behind. “I have been studying on my own at home [during the pandemic] and my sister helps me with my studies,” says Fatema. “I like studying on my own because nobody disturbs me, but I will feel very good when the schools reopen.” Fatema has always been self-motivated. Last year, before schools closed, she was ‘book captain’ at her school in Cox’s Bazar. As part of a literacy program with the U.S.-based not-for-profit Room to Read, supported by Washington and the Government of Bangladesh, over 40,000 students across 146 primary schools in the district receive a reading curriculum and storybooks. Complete Article HERE
Children all over the world have had their education severely disrupted this year, as schools struggle to cope with repeated closures and re-openings, and the transition, if it’s even an option, to online schooling. Disadvantaged children, however, have been worst-hit by the emergency measures. In this part of our look back at the effect that COVID-19 has had on the world, we focus on the education crisis provoked by the pandemic. School closures as a result of health and other crises are not new, at least not in the developing world, and the potentially devastating consequences are well known; loss of learning and higher drop-out rates, increased violence against children, teen pregnancies and early marriages. What sets the COVID-19 pandemic apart from all other crises is that it has affected children everywhere and at the same time. Complete Article HERE
Every day, around 60 million children in the Middle East and North Africa region and between 200-300 million children in the Muslim world turn up to school. Over the last decades, these schools have taught a regular and unchanging diet of hatred towards Jews. The intensity has varied from country to country, but the central themes are consistent: the canards that Jews tried to kill the Prophet, that they control the global economy, media and politics. Anti-Jewish racism infected the Arab and Muslim world so successfully and so completely, that people from the region who hold tolerant, anti-racist attitudes to Jews are outliers. But it does not have to be this way. Research by IMPACT-se shows that there have been recent improvements in textbooks across the MENA region. In the UAE, Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan reformed the school curriculum that had been authored by the Muslim Brotherhood. It is now quite remarkably different, teaching tolerance and peacemaking. In Tunisia, textbooks educate about the importance of negotiations, peace, and respect for the Other. Complete Article HERE
Societies that rebuilt their education systems after war and natural disasters may offer lessons on how to close the learning gap opened by the pandemic. “A catastrophe, a pandemic is likely to have a negative impact on outcomes,” says Emma García, an education expert at the left-leaning Economic Policy Institute in Washington. Nonetheless, she says these negative effects can be corrected after a few years if teaching resources are redirected to students who most need them. Student assessments need to move beyond test scores to capture such skills, so that educators can reinforce and leverage students’ social and emotional capabilities that may have improved during the pandemic. “Resilience, tolerance, understanding, sympathy, creativity – those are assets,” she says. Indeed, from Afghanistan to Sierra Leone to the United States, there are some reasons for optimism—not only that students can recover academically, but that they can gain healthy coping mechanisms for future challenges. Complete Article HERE
Schools around New Zealand are paying tens of thousands of dollars to private consultants to help them improve the way they teach reading. They are introducing the so-called “structured literacy” approach, more commonly known as phonics. While backed by 30 years of educational research, it is not funded by the Ministry of Education. Developed by the New Zealand educationalist Dame Marie Clay, the “balanced literacy,” or “whole language” approach, is based on the idea that learning to read should be as natural as learning to talk. If you put children in a “book-rich” environment, they will learn to read in their own time, taking their cues from pictures and context. Indeed, while this method works for many children, it doesn’t for far too many of our most vulnerable children, including an estimated one in seven with learning disabilities. Complete Article HERE
Without imparting values and morals in education, human development is incomplete. Values are the guiding principles of life that contribute to all round development of an individual. Values add a good quality to life and it should also contribute to the welfare of family, the community and the nation. Philosophers, spiritual leaders and educationists of our country, all in various ways, have emphasized the role of education for “character development,” “bringing out the latent potentialities and inherent qualities” and developing an “integrated personality” for the well-being of the individual and the society at large. Whatever term we use, the importance of developing values has long been embedded in the age old traditions of India’s civilization and cultural heritage, spanning over the centuries. Complete Article HERE
All children should learn about Britain’s role in the slave trade and the sometimes bloody history of its empire, as well as braided hair and the Windrush generation, according to young [student] campaigners whose petitions have attracted nearly 400,000 signatures. Four campaigners still at school and university are trying to have such topics made compulsory. They are backed by MPs on two Commons committees, who took evidence last week. Ministers say teachers can teach the subjects if they wish.
However, after reforms by Michael Gove when he was education secretary, schools tend to focus in GCSE history on “Hitler and the Henrys” (the Tudors), while in English literature compulsory papers feature white authors such as William Shakespeare. The Department for Education recently told schools not to teach “victim narratives.”
Three petitions drawn up by four young students were presented to MPs on the petitions select committee and the women and equalities select committee, sitting jointly, last week.
More than 260,000 people have signed a petition to teach Britain’s colonial past as part of the compulsory curriculum, put forward by Esmie Jikiemi-Pearson and Nell Bevan. Two other petitions, by Yacoub Yasin and Cynthia Muthoni, have more than 115,000 signatures between them.
Jikemi-Pearson told MPs: “For my English literature A-level, I was taught Jane Eyre, Sense and Sensibility and a contemporary text by an Irish author. Throughout my entire A-level and school life, I never got to read a book with a person of colour in it.
“The only character I can think of is Bertha in Jane Eyre. She is a crazed, abusive wife, so it is not a positive portrayal. Sometimes I sat in that classroom thinking, ‘Why am I even here?'”
Yasin said he had dropped GCSE history because “the only time I had ever heard history of where I was from being spoken about was the British Raj and the element of being subservient.”
Muthoni, whose petition calls for more education on diversity, gave the example of a lesson about braided hair and what it represents across different cultures.
Caroline Nokes, the Tory MP who chairs the women and equalities committee, said: “To understand racism and inequality in 2020, it’s vitally important that we understand Britain’s role in colonization and the transatlantic slave trade.”