The (non) existence of multicultural education in the Scottish curriculum

Nighet Nasim Riaz

Research output: Contribution to conferenceAbstract


The United Kingdom has a diverse population, made up of many nationalities, races, ethnicities and religions, which has resulted over the decades in multiculturalism and assimilation discourses around community cohesion, and now integration and security. Multicultural education has been superseded by ‘citizenship’ and now ‘British values’ in the classroom as one of the responses to integrate minority communities into mainstream society. The other response has been to focus specifically on the ethnic minority Muslim community as ‘the potential enemy within’. Lawson and Swann (2011, p36) situate the context of the rise of counter terrorism legislation on historical events based on the rise of terrorist atrocities on a global, national and local level.
The term ‘multiculturalism’ was coined by the state to divide the strong Black Workers movement into different ethnic groups in the late 20th Century, relegating it to no more than the ‘steel bands, saris and samosas’, a tokenistic gesture to the diversity within, which did not address community cohesion and integration. This tokenistic approach is applied in the same superficial manner in multicultural education in schools.
This paper will explore how Scottish Government policy on one hand speaks about how social justice, equality and fairness underpin the policy with the child being at the centre of the policy, and in the other instance colludes with the Westminster Government through the implementation of counter terrorism legislation. Where children and young people do not align with the assigned values and norms of an essentialised childhood, young British Muslims are according to Coppock and McGovern (2014, p253) placed as ‘outside of childhood’ and thus a potential threat to the state. These transformations have seen the implementation of the extensive monitoring of Muslim pupils and ‘extremism’ in an attempt to ally national and local anxieties provoked by the Muslim subject who has come to embody a ‘threat.’ (Sian, 2015, p184).
Original languageEnglish
Publication statusPublished - 5 Jun 2018
EventImplementation and Challenges of Multicultural Education
: What can Thailand Learn from the Experiences of the UK?
- Mahidol University, Bangkok, Thailand
Duration: 5 Jun 20188 Jun 2018 (Call for papers)


WorkshopImplementation and Challenges of Multicultural Education
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