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The education system Essay

Assess the view that ethnic minority pupils are discriminated against in the education system There are currently significant differences in the educational attainment of ethnic minority pupils compared to their white peers, as shown in the statistics from Social Trends. There are many possible factors that may account for this and for the purposes of this essay I will explore the idea of discrimination against ethnic minority pupils.

Some pupils may be treated differently either due to racism or inaccurate views made by the teachers which lead to labelling. The Swan Report was done in 1985 in Britain after it was felt that research should be conducted into the differing attainments of ethnic minority pupils. This report concluded that there was not much racism in Britain at that time and if there was, it may have been from resources such as books so is consequently dying out.

Due to the age of the Swan Report, its findings may not be as valid today, so this would indicate that the amount of racism, if any, would have decreased dramatically. It would therefore, be fair to say that the changes in the attitudes of people in society has lead to ethnic minority pupils no longer being discriminated against. However, Coard felt that there was racism being put through the ‘ethnocentric’ education, it focused on white people, so it caused racism from the teachers and peer groups.

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This view argues that ethnic minority pupils are being discriminated against, but I feel it is difficult to state whether this is knowingly happening. For example, there is a wide range of ethnic minority pupils from a range of backgrounds in Britain today so it would be impractical to include work that is related to all of the cultures. As we all live in England it seems natural to give slightly more attention to the history of this country.

Also, an explicit criticism of Coard’s work would be that it is not scientific as it is only based on his views. Overall, I feel that what Coard has described is not discrimination, but he has simply looked at the education system from a negative angle. By the 1980s, Troyna and Carrington found that there was not ‘overt’ racism, but ‘covert’ racism. By this they meant that people were saying, ‘I’m not racist, but… ” This indicates that at this time, people were aware that it was wrong to be racist, but they still had views against ethnic minorities.

This shows that there may have been discrimination against ethnic minorities, but it was not intentional. They felt that schools needed to do ‘Anti-Racist Education,’ this would involve more strategies to deal with overt racism and would completely remove any barriers that were apparent between the cultures. From this, it can be said there is very little or no discrimination against ethnic minorities as schemes have even been introduced to reduce the small amount of covert racism.

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