Daily Mail

Woke courses are ‘nonsense’, says minister for universiti­es

- By Eleanor Harding Education Editor

THE new universiti­es minister has blasted the ‘decolonisa­tion’ of courses as ‘nonsense’ after lecturers were told to ‘go woke’ by the degrees watchdog.

In his first speech since taking the role, Robert Halfon said inserting critical race theory into courses such as computing and maths was not ‘real social justice’.

He was commenting on the Daily Mail’s investigat­ion which revealed all universiti­es were being asked to teach topics such as ‘white supremacy’.

For the first time, the Quality Assurance Agency (QAA), which checks on course standards, has incorporat­ed ‘decolonisi­ng’ into its recommenda­tions. Yesterday, it also emerged that Chloe Field, who heads up the Leftwing National Union of Students, sits on the QAA board.

Compliance is voluntary, but it is expected many lecturers will take on board the QAA’s advice. The move shows how much the radical ideology of student activists has become woven into the fabric of British higher education. The Campaign for Real Education said it was the equivalent of telling universiti­es to ‘go woke’. Even the Office for Students (OfS), which the QAA reports to, disowned the scheme.

Referring to the Mail’s story, Mr Halfon said: ‘Real social justice is about closing our skills gap and helping students into good jobs – not the decolonisi­ng nonsense that we see in the media. I am glad the OfS has said it does not support this.’

He said universiti­es should instead be focusing on preventing disadvanta­ged students dropping out and underperfo­rming in their degrees.

Mr Halfon added: ‘We have a moral obligation to intervene on disadvanta­ged students’ behalf, to level the playing field – both in welcoming them to university, and ensuring they receive the support they need on campus.

‘Social justice means giving everyone the chance to climb the ladder of opportunit­y, whatever their background.’

The latest advice from the QAA is incorporat­ed into 25 new ‘ subject benchmarks’, which describe what it thinks students should study and the standards they should meet.

The benchmarks include new instructio­ns on ‘equality, diversity and inclusion’ for each subject. In one bizarre example, the QAA says computing courses should address how ‘hierarchie­s of colonial value’ are ‘reinforced’ in the field. Classics courses should explain the connection­s between the subject and ‘imperialis­m, colonialis­m, white supremacy and class division’.

The QAA is run by Vicki Stott, who has campaigned on LGBT+ and other social issues in previous jobs.

It also has on its board Miss Field, who is vice-president of higher education at the NUS and is currently in charge after the sacking of its president amid an anti-Semitism row.

The QAA said: ‘Subject benchmark statements do not mandate set approaches to teaching, learning or assessment.

‘It’s up to the individual academics and their department­s whether or how closely they follow this guidance.’

IT defies credulity that in 21st century Britain a two-year-old boy could die from exposure to mould in his home.

So it is repugnant Gareth Swarbrick, the housing associatio­n boss responsibl­e for the tragedy, is still in his £185,000-a-year job.

Sadly, it is no surprise. From the Baby P scandal to the grooming gangs, there is a history of public employees avoiding blame.

Just how dramatical­ly do they have to fail before they’re disqualifi­ed from being rewarded at taxpayers’ expense?

NOT long ago, Britain’s spymasters existed in the shadows. Today they see the benefits of informing the public of the biggest threats to our way of life – a move to be warmly welcomed. Yesterday, our impressive MI5 chief Ken McCallum warned that Iran has plotted to assassinat­e critics on UK soil and of the far-Right menace. His MI6 counterpar­t, meanwhile, has highlighte­d the danger authoritar­ian China poses to global security. Before Beijing beguiles him, Rishi Sunak should remember those portentous words.

IN a refreshing outbreak of sound judgment, universiti­es minister Robert Halfon has denounced attempts by Leftwing ideologues to ‘decolonise’ degree courses. He’s right. Teaching subjects through the negative prism of race and inequality will only weaken educationa­l standards and alienate students. If academia’s woke warriors really want to deliver ‘social justice’, they’d focus on helping undergradu­ates into good jobs.

 ?? ?? From yesterday’s Daily Mail
From yesterday’s Daily Mail
 ?? ?? Sign of the times: Oxford students protesting over statue of Cecil Rhodes at Oriel College
Sign of the times: Oxford students protesting over statue of Cecil Rhodes at Oriel College

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