Fundamental British Values: What They Are and How Should We Teach Them
Do you know the Fundamental British Values? Okay before we go there, it is clear that every nation has their own set of values that nurture. These values guide and mould their citizens to create a collective identity. Consequently, this identity coupled with specific beliefs and cultures defines them as citizens of that particular country. This is no different from the Brits.
In Britain, the fundamental British values are defined by the Department of Education (DfE), and they include the rule of law, tolerance of those with different beliefs and faiths, individual liberty, democracy, and mutual respect. Currently, the DfE is in the process of putting up an expert advisory group tasked with the responsibility of developing a curriculum that will instil the fundamental values in young Brits.
Let’s agree to disagree
While you may want to argue if these are the right fundamental British value or if they are British in any way, they are what the government have set. Therefore, irrespective of how you may feel about the government’s position on school curriculum, you will realise very few people disagree on the significance of such values.
As usual, there is always an agenda. Even especially when it comes to topics that might raise controversies relating to what children should learn or not learn in school. The pending curriculum and resources will find their way to the Education Against Hate website. Of course, this is primarily intended to guard young people against getting indoctrinated with extremist ideologies.
Should our schools be held responsible for the rise of extremist views?
Most people are sceptical against holding schools responsible for the rising wave of extremism amongst the young people. But despite that, there is immense pressure on the very institutions to deter all attempts aimed at radicalising students. The weight is still on and will not be going away anytime soon, and the efforts by the government to try and instil the fundamental British values might as well be accepted as a good move. If the schools should be used to promote these values, then they need to get support from all quarters.
The answer to implementation may lie in strategies
Some methodologies seem apparent more than others. For example, teaching democracy should have its root deep in the understanding of British history. In the same manner, to understand the rule of law, one must have a knowledge of the origin of British laws and how the entire legal system works.
Furthermore, to understand why there is tension between mutual respect and individual liberty, then you must know of philosophy. The question that begs, however, is how much knowledge or understanding do the kids need? Should they know about philosophers like Plato or a little knowledge of British philosophers such as Hobbes, Burke, or Bentham will do?
But, before you can tolerate different beliefs and faiths, they must know about them. The education system is already providing sanctioned religious education. But is this appropriate and sufficient? Are students getting a good education on what it is to practice a different religion? You could also wonder if they understand why it is not easy to respect and tolerate other religions.
The bottom line
Whatever your opinion is on the matter British Education must be celebrated. All these concerns mean that the development of fundamental British values is of immense importance. Therefore, stakeholders should place lots of attention on how they communicate and educate pupils on the importance and need to apply these values in real life.
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