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Last Updated: Friday, 6 February, 2004, 11:24 GMT
Call to end educational 'racism'
Pupils will learn about black and Asian history
School lessons should take account of pupils' cultural differences in order to improve some ethnic minorities' performances, a report says.

Birmingham Advisory Service, run by the city's council, recommends that citizenship classes look at "diversity of national, regional, religious and ethnic identities".

It is also calling for black and Asian history to be added to the syllabus.

Last year, 32% of Afro-Caribbean pupils in Birmingham achieved five A* to C-grade GCSEs - well below the average rate of 50%.

'Mutual respect'

The BAS said the education system exhibited "aspects of racism".

In Birmingham, 63% of children from an Indian background got five good GCSEs last year and 46.5% of white pupils.

For Pakistani pupils the figure was 38.5%.

For most ethnic groups, the Birmingham figures were slightly below the national average.

The BAC report calls for teaching "the need for mutual respect and understanding".

Subjects discussed should include "fairness and social justice, the nature of prejudice, anti-social and aggressive behaviours like racism and bullying".

Pupils' performances at all key educational stages were analysed for the study.

Researchers found Bangladeshi boys performed above average in exams taken at 14, but fell behind over the next two years to do less well at GCSE.

However, the proportion of black pupils gaining five or more good GCSEs rose from 17% in 2001 to 28% last year.

Low rates of achievement at this educational stage were "overwhelmingly concentrated in inner-city areas".

Birmingham City Council has accepted the BAS's comments.

It is promising to produce a poster of black and Asian role models for use in schools. The council will also carry out an audit of whether its services are reaching ethnic minority pupils.

A spokesman said: "We have put an achievement plan into place and we are working with the community."

A Commission for Racial Equality spokesman added: "Any initiatives that seek to engage pupils at school or raise the attainment levels of underperforming groups would be welcomed by us."

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