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Access to Fairer Education & study of Indic languages

Access to Fairer Education & study of Indic languages

The Hindu Manifesto UK 2024 was recently launched by the Hindus for Democracy umbrella organisation. The manifesto has been framed by major Hindu organisations across the UK, including INSIGHT UK, NHSF UK, HSS, Hindu Council UK and many more.

This iGlobal series digs deeper, chapter by chapter, through each of the issues highlighted in the first-of-its-kind Hindu Manifesto 2024 – Part 3 focussed on “Access to Fairer Education”…

The Commission on Religious Education (CoRE) reports a decline in the quality of RE in schools since 2013, citing inadequate teacher training and support. This deficiency often leads to oversimplified portrayals and misconceptions of Hinduism, Sikhism, and Buddhism, as supported by INSIGHT UK’s 2021 research report titled ‘Hinduism in Religious Education’.

The survey reveals that 93 per cent of Hindu parents and students in the UK report a lack of options to study Hinduism at the GCSE level, leading to misconceptions and limiting non-Hindu students’ understand of the third-largest world religion.

The CoRE report suggests moving away from locally informed delivery of religious education (RE). In response, the UK Hindu community established the Hindu Education Board (HEB) UK to assist Local Education Authorities in incorporating Hinduism into the RE syllabus and providing volunteer support and training for RE teachers.

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Some other concerns highlighted by the report:

-          Access to Indic languages (e.g. Sanskrit, Hindi, and Tamil) in schools will support economic ties with India and the preservation of cultural values found in Indic texts

-          Grammar Schools attract high-achieving students, including many UK Hindus and Indians but the limited number of Grammar Schools forces many students to travel long distances or relocate

-          Faith Schools: despite a large UK Hindu population, there were no Hindu faith schools until 2010, and currently, there are only around 12, sponsored by the Avanti Schools Trust, and no state-funded Hindu faith schools

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Manifesto expectations from candidates contesting in the General Elections 2024:

1.     Advocating the teaching of Hinduism in Religious Education (RE) across all schools in the United Kingdom, particularly at the GCSE level, and advocating that the curriculum and resources of Hinduism in RE be approved by Hindu scholars at the Hindu Education Board UK.

2.      Addressing the need for more Hindu faith schools in the UK.

3.      Supporting the opening of satellite sites of existing Grammar Schools to ensure that Grammar schools are accessible everywhere in the country, particularly in areas with significant demands and no or scarce presence of grammar schools.

4.     Championing the opening of language schools and libraries for Indic languages including but not limited to Sanskrit, Hindi, Tamil, Gujarati, Punjabi, Bangla, Sindhi, Kannada, Telugu, and Marathi along with other foreign languages

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