International

Row Erupts in Britain Over Teaching of Tolerance

By Debra Viadero — March 15, 2005 1 min read
  • Save to favorites
  • Print

Days after Britain’s chief schools inspector singled out Muslim schools as failing to teach tolerance, a report from his agency showed that evangelical Christian schools may be doing an even worse job of it.

London: Shabina Begum, 16, leaves an English courthouse this month, after the Court of Appeal ruled that her rights had been violated by her school's ban on the jilbab, the clothing that Muslim women wear.

David Bell, the head of the Office for Standards in Education, or OFSTED, ran into intense criticism following a speech on citizenship education in which he suggested that the growing number of religious schools were challenging Britain’s “coherence as a nation.”

His agency’s subsequent report on the subject, however, showed that of the 50 Muslim schools inspected last year, 18 were cited for failing to teach tolerance. In comparison, 17 of the 40 evangelical Christian schools inspected—a higher proportion—got bad marks in that area.

Idris Mears, the executive director of the Association of Muslim Schools, in Birmingham, England, said that while Mr. Bell’s remarks were “irresponsible,” they reflected widespread problems stemming from the sudden growth in recent years of independent schools of all religions. “Well-established Muslim schools are teaching citizenship very effectively.”

A spokesman for OFSTED said the agency was making no more comments on the controversy.

Coverage of cultural understanding and international issues in education is supported in part by the Atlantic Philanthropies.
A version of this article appeared in the March 16, 2005 edition of Education Week

Events

This content is provided by our sponsor. It is not written by and does not necessarily reflect the views of Education Week's editorial staff.
Sponsor
Student Well-Being Webinar
A Whole Child Approach to Supporting Positive Student Behavior 
To improve student behavior, it’s important to look at the root causes. Social-emotional learning may play a preventative role.

A whole child approach can proactively support positive student behaviors.

Join this webinar to learn how.
Content provided by Panorama
Recruitment & Retention Live Online Discussion A Seat at the Table: Why Retaining Education Leaders of Color Is Key for Student Success
Today, in the United States roughly 53 percent of our public school students are young people of color, while approximately 80 percent of the educators who lead their classrooms, schools, and districts are white. Racial
Jobs January 2022 Virtual Career Fair for Teachers and K-12 Staff
Find teaching jobs and other jobs in K-12 education at the EdWeek Top School Jobs virtual career fair.

EdWeek Top School Jobs

Teacher Jobs
Search over ten thousand teaching jobs nationwide — elementary, middle, high school and more.
View Jobs
Principal Jobs
Find hundreds of jobs for principals, assistant principals, and other school leadership roles.
View Jobs
Administrator Jobs
Over a thousand district-level jobs: superintendents, directors, more.
View Jobs
Support Staff Jobs
Search thousands of jobs, from paraprofessionals to counselors and more.
View Jobs

Read Next

International Global Test Finds Digital Divide Reflected in Math, Science Scores
New data from the 2019 Trends in International Math and Science Study show teachers and students lack digital access and support.
3 min read
Image of data.
iStock/Getty
International Pre-COVID Learning Inequities Were Already Large Around the World
A new international benchmarking highlights gaps in training for digital learning and other supports that could deepen the challenge for low-income schools during the pandemic.
4 min read
International Part of Global Trend, 1 in 3 U.S. High Schoolers Felt Disconnected From School Before Pandemic
UNESCO's annual report on global education progress finds countries need to make more effort to include marginalized students, particularly in the United States.
4 min read
International How Schools in Other Countries Have Reopened
Ideas from Australia, Denmark, and Taiwan can help American district and school leaders as they shape their reopening plans.
11 min read
Students at the Taipei American School in Taipei, Taiwan, perform The Little Mermaid in full costume and masks.
Students at the Taipei American School in Taipei, Taiwan, perform The Little Mermaid in full costume and masks.
Photo courtesy of Dustin Rhoades/Taipei American School