Education & Culture

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Sitting in a cafe last night with an old friend and student – Dr Khalid Hussain – we had a very insightful and lengthy conversation about education and its purpose. The conversation was interspersed with sweet cardamom tea and added more flavour to the discussion. It propelled me to write today’s blog.

One of the deeply rooted superstitions of our age is the notion that the sole purpose of education is to benefit those who receive it. What we teach, how we teach, what subjects we encourage, are all utilised for one underlying purpose – “what do the kids get out of it?” And this ignites another more detrimental question – “is it relevant?” – and by relevant they mean “relevant to the interest of the kids.” From these superstitions have arisen a multitude of other problems such as the abhorrence of rote learning. Continue reading →

Stuart Hall: Has Multiculturalism Failed?

The Prime Minister recently criticised what he called ‘state multiculturalism’ and said it had failed, arguing that Britain needs a stronger national identity. Is it time to turn our backs on the multi-cultural idea? And what would a stronger national identity mean to people who feel at the cultural margins of our society? As the politicians debate, Laurie Taylor speaks to Britain’s leading cultural theorist, Stuart Hall. They discuss culture, politics, race and nation in a special edition of Thinking Allowed. 

‘I’m A Muslim, but I’m Not a Terrorist’: Segregation vs Integration

Integration as social policy in the UK has fallen short of delivering anything but inequality and injustice. Rather, in its use since 9/11 it has become a convenient banner under which it is justifiable and convenient to target and discipline British Muslims. This was clearly demonstrated by David Cameron’s recent speech on the ‘failure of multiculturalism’, categorically singling out Muslims as most in need of integration into British values. The contemporary debate has reduced all social issues to questions of cultural differences and conflicting value systems. Public voices in the media have now made it fashionable and respectable to possess anti-Muslim sentiments.  Continue reading →