British History Core Curriculum Globalized for 2015
Professor Peter Mandler, president of the Royal Historical Society says that this year, with the overhaul of the GSCEs, the history curriculum for British students will also be changing. In an effort to broaden the scope of what British kids know about history in general, they will now also be learning about other non-British occurrences throughout the ages. Professor Mandler says that they will not be doing away completely with anything, they will simply be adding more history about other non-typical western aspects of British history. Professor Mandler stresses that history is not just about things that have come to pass, it is also about the things that will come to be: nowadays, in a very globalized society, it is crucial for the kids to learn about history from other parts of the world, lest they become internationally inept.
He also stresses that this curriculum will be very relevant to students throughout the country, seeing as how a lot of British migrants whose kids are currently enrolled in the public schools system are from Islam backgrounds. Professor Mandler says this will teach kids a lot about the more modern, diverse population that England has in the 21st century. He says there is simply less time to worry about what all the different King Henrys did.
The new history curriculum, which is going to take effect in 2015 along with the GSCE overhaul, is going to cover at least 200 years worth of events as opposed to the current 100 years being implemented throughout Britain today. Cumulatively, throughout secondary education, the new syllabus claims to cover about 1,700 years of British and world history—including the War of the Roses, the Tudors, the Civil War, the Georgians and Winston Churchill’s contributions to society. The other two-thirds of the lessons are going to focus primarily on non-British history, including Islamic history and the different Chinese dynasties. They’re also going to be talking about the Islamic Spring and the different ways in which history has affected other middle-eastern countries such as Lybia, Syria, Yemen, Tunisia, Egypt and Bahrain.
Also included is an entire module on Genghis Khan and his rule from 1167 to 1405. They will also be tackling different parts of history throughout Asia, such as Japanese history through the years 1853 to 1937 and the 150 years of rule change in China, including the beginning of communist rule. In an attempt to have a portion of history from each continent, the new history curriculum is also to include African kingdoms throughout the period of 1400 to 1800 and the rise and fall of the Mughal Empire in India during the years 1526 to 1739. Ultimately, this new comprehensive and holistic coverage also aims toward eliminating the widespread phenomena of very subtle British xenophobia, education officials say—this reluctance to learn about things that are un-British which has resulted from years of Brit-centered learning.
Mike Goddard, the OCR’s head of history says that the biggest criticism of the British History curriculum is exactly that it is too England-centered, with most of the lessons being centered around the western world about events which occurred in the 20th century—the Henrys and Hitler tend to become repetitive and can be learned in less than one academic year. Furthermore, Mr. Goddard says that in a survey taken amongst the top universities, they have been told that students with a background in pre-colonial, global history are preferred because they have a higher aptitude for understanding change. He goes onto say that the new curriculum is going to make the British history coverage less repetitive, more relevant and also encourages English kids to become more politically correct. More than anything, Mr. Goddard stresses that this new syllabus is going to encourage students to flourish in the global world—they will be equipped with knowledge, wherever they go.