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Last Updated: Thursday, 28 December 2006, 08:31 GMT
Teachers get guidelines on India
Last days of the Raj: Viceroy Mountbatten in Delhi, 1947
Teachers will be given advice on the struggle for independence
Schools in England are to be sent extra guidelines on how to teach about the legacy of the British Empire in India.

The guidelines are being sent out as the 60th anniversary of Indian independence is celebrated next year.

The guidance aims to help schools explore the impact of British rule and key features of the cultural and religious history of the subcontinent.

It comes from the Qualifications and Curriculum Authority and is for Key Stage 3 pupils (ages 12 to 14).

It will offer teachers suggestions about how they can cover the key background to the struggle for independence and examine why India was such an important part of the British Empire.

Teachers will also be offered tips on informing pupils about the events leading up to and after independence in 1947 and the impact of the key figures in that struggle.

Teachers will also be advised on how the legacy of partition - with the formation of East Pakistan (now Bangladesh) and West Pakistan - still influences the Indian subcontinent today.

'Foster understanding'

QCA chief executive Ken Boston said: "Today's society is a global one that is ever changing. Never has it been so important to work with other countries around the world, particularly for business opportunities."

Given the mix of nationalities in England, it was important to foster understanding through learning.

"In history children need to learn about British history, but also need to improve their knowledge of the events that shaped the world we live in.

"Next year marks the 60th anniversary of Indian independence, and this new guidance offers a chance for all pupils to learn about a group of culturally rich countries that are growing in significance today.

"Learning more about the recent history of India, Pakistan and Bangladesh can help children better understand the legacy of the British Empire, providing an important and valuable insight into the history of their own country."

Traditionalist history teachers complained that the general tone of the guidance was anti-British.

The director of the traditionalist History Curriculum Association, Chris McGovern, said there was little about positive consequences of imperial rule.

"Instead pupils have to work out 'how the British profited from their Indian empire' and 'the relative importance of the various benefits Britain experienced as a result of their Indian empire'."

A spokesperson for the Department for Education and Skills said it was important that young people learn about the history of the Empire and the development of the Commonwealth.

"These units are non-statutory guidance for teachers and provide them with ideas on how to deliver the curriculum."

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