Home > Politics & Education > Published Letters & Articles > Immigration > Multi-Ethnic Education (1)

Multi-Ethnic Education (1)

July 21st, 1983

A letter to the Daily Telegraph which was published on 21st July 1983.

The letter from Mr Fred Jarvis of the National Union of Teachers (July 18th) attacking your leader on the subject of multi-ethnic education, cannot be allowed to go without comment.

First talk of “successive immigrations to Britain over centuries” is a familiar verbal device used to persuade the native people of this country that the massive foreign immigration of the last 25 years is natural and part of “a long established pattern of cultural enrichment” and to be welcomed as such.

In fact there is nothing in our history save the Viking invasions of the 9th and 10th centuries (and here we are talking in any case of close language and racial cousins of the original Anglo-Saxon peoples) to match remotely the scale, abruptness and foreignness of the recent Asian and Caribbean immigrations.

The odd refugee group of Flemish weavers, Huguenots, etc., and more recently, Jews and Poles, were by comparison minuscule.

So-called “widening of cultural horizons for all our children” is the purest fantasy when large numbers of English children have an inadequate grasp of their own language, and only the vaguest idea of the history of our country and its tremendous role in shaping the modern world.

The hard-headed leaders of the third-world countries send their students to this country not to learn the vapid multi-culturalism which Mr Jarvis expounds, but the skills of the real modern world, the language and technology of which derive entirely from Europe and North America.

These are the things which our children should be taught, together with our language and the history of our land and people from the time of Bede.

If further cultural enrichment is wanted they could do worse than learn the languages of our European neighbours, opeing vast new areas of study and enlightenment.