In Holo­caust ed­u­ca­tion, more­time­an­dat­ten­tion

The Jewish Chronicle - - NEWS -

no­log­i­cal so­ci­ety could de­scend to geno­cide, that needs to be rooted in a solid grasp of history.

For ex­am­ple, the re­port says they should know about col­lab­o­rat­ing regimes, the in­volve­ment of lo­cal pop­u­la­tions in the killings, the long history of anti-Jewish prej­u­dice, the dif­fer­ent Nazi poli­cies tar­geted at dif­fer­ent vic­tim groups, and what Bri­tain and the Al­lies knew about the Holo­caust. They should recog­nise that the Nazis were a mass po­lit­i­cal party, not a small band of Hitler’s hench­men.

This is a tall or­der in the av­er­age six hours de­voted to Holo­caust ed­u­ca­tion in schools (some ded­i­cate as lit­tle as one hour). But while the gov­ern­ment has pledged £50 mil­lion to­wards a new Holo­caust me­mo­rial and learn­ing cen­tre, the re­port is con­cerned that changes in the ed­u­ca­tional sys­tem could con­spire to re­duce teach­ing of it.

First of all, most sec­ondary schools are now acad­e­mies, so no longer have to fol­low the na­tional curriculum. Some re­sult-con­scious schools de­vote three years, rather than two, to their GCSE cour­ses, which could cut the time spent on the pre-GCSE curriculum, where the Holo­caust is in­cluded.

While some stu­dents have gone on to study the Holo­caust in more depth at GCSE and A-level, there is a con­cern that a new fo­cus on Bri­tish history in exam sub­jects will squeeze other ar­eas.

“The per­se­cu­tion and mass mur­der of the Jews and other groups typ­i­cally ap­pears as a very small el­e­ment of an op­tional topic worth, at best, only 20 per cent of stu­dents’ fi­nal GCSE grade,” the re­port warns. “It is pos­si­ble that only a small per­cent­age of GCSE stu­dents will leave school, hav­ing stud­ied any­thing mean­ing­ful about the Holo­caust.”

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