Gov­ern­ment may in­vest but schools must give it

The Jewish Chronicle - - NEWS - BY SI­MON ROCKER

AWARE­NESS OF the Holo­caust among English school­child­ren has grown since it be­came a com­pul­sory part of the na­tional history curriculum in 1991. Most recog­nise the term and as­so­ciate it with the mass mur­der of Jews in the Sec­ond World War.

By the time they en­ter the fourth year of sec­ondary school, 85 per cent of chil­dren will have been taught about the Holo­caust, ac­cord­ing to the sur­vey pub­lished last month by Univer­sity Col­lege Lon­don’s Cen­tre for Holo­caust Ed­u­ca­tion. Most think it is im­por­tant and want to know more.

But the re­port also doc­u­ments wide­spread “gaps, con­fu­sions and sig­nif­i­cant in­ac­cu­ra­cies” in their knowl­edge. “Most stu­dents who have stud­ied the Holo­caust at school do not have a clear un­der­stand­ing of some of its most fun­da­men­tal as­pects,” it stated.

The most strik­ing fig­ure was that more than two-thirds could not say what the term “an­ti­semitism” meant and only just over half could iden­tify that the num­ber of Jews who per­ished was six mil­lion. How­ever, one should add that, whereas only 10 per cent of first years knew the mean­ing of an­ti­semitism, that had climbed to three-quar­ters of those in their fi­nal year. Knowl­edge im­proves with age.

The au­thors ar­gue that teach­ing about the Holo­caust must go be­yond us­ing it as a ve­hi­cle to warn against the dan­gers of racism. If young peo­ple are to be­gin to understand how an ad­vanced tech-

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