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Tuesday, 16 October, 2001, 15:30 GMT 16:30 UK
Pupils can study origins of war
History can help to explain the origins of conflict
Schools can use the curriculum's newest subject - citizenship - as a way of teaching pupils about the background to the current conflict in Afghanistan.

There had been claims last week that the curriculum did not give pupils enough opportunity to study recent history - but the curriculum authority said there is scope to study history topics up to the present day.

Both in citizenship, which becomes compulsory in secondary schools next year, and in history, the Qualifications and Curriculum Authority says there are subject units which allow pupils to study the last two decades.

And the QCA says that guidelines preventing the study of recent history have now "withered on the vine".

Understanding current affairs

History text book author, Sean Lang, last week called for a modern history curriculum that was not so skewed towards the first half of the 20th century.

The lack of studying of recent history made it difficult for pupils to understand current affairs and in particular the military action taking place in Afghanistan, the historian had said.

The QCA's subject officer for history, Jerome Freeman, said that in the curriculum for 11 to 14 year olds and at GCSE and A-level there were options for looking at the politics of the recent past.

Within citizenship, pupils can study recent world conflicts, including the Balkans wars of the 1990s.

And in GCSE history there were opportunities to study up to the end of the last century, including topics on Ireland and the Arab-Israeli conflict.

There were also options which allowed pupils to study to the end of the last century, under headings such as the Cold War, which included the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan.

But Mr Freeman conceded that there were still not many opportunities to study modern United States history.

See also:

15 Oct 01 | Education
Advice for schools on war
09 Oct 01 | Education
History 'not up to date enough'
22 Sep 01 | Mike Baker
US attacks: Lessons for school history?
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