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Education Secretary says children SHOULD be taught about the benefits of the British Empire


Children should be taught about the benefits of the British Empire, the Education Secretary has said.

Nadhim Zahawi warned woke teachers they should not just preach about the negative parts of the country's history.

The Cabinet minister said they should leave their political views outside the classroom and not impose it on their pupils.

He cited the Iraqi civil service before Saddam Hussein rose to power as 'the sort of thing children should be learning about'.

Mr Zahawi's comments echoes those by equalities minister Kemi Badenoch, who argued both sides of the story must be taught in a 'nuanced' way.

When asked on Times Radio whether he agreed with his colleague, Mr Zahawi said: 'Yes I do.

'Let me give you an example. You know that my parents fled Iraq because of Saddam Hussein.

'If you ask Iraq before the Ba'athist regime came into office about cronies and criminals, Iraq was left a legacy of a British civil service system which actually served the country incredibly well for many, many decades, and that's the sort of thing that actually children should be learning about.

'And of course all aspects of empire, and I think that's important.'

Mrs Badenoch earlier this month said when she was growing up in Nigeria the legacy of the British Empire was taught in a 'nuanced' way.

She urged schools to emulate this and teach about both the positive and negative aspects.

She had just published the Government's strategy on tackling racial disparities, which includes plans for a new model history curriculum.

She told Times Radio she believes race is often exploited for political reasons and it was not her reality that all black people are victims.

She said the decision by Nottingham University to deny race report author Tony Sewell an honorary degree would have a 'chilling effect' on the ability of black people to speak out.

Mrs Badenoch said schools should tell both sides of the Empire story: 'History isn't about trying to enforce a particular narrative. It's about telling the truth about things that happened.

'There were terrible things that happened during the Empire. There were other good things that happened.

'When I learned about it in Nigeria, we got a very nuanced picture. But there wasn't any sort of attempt to describe the Empire as having just oppressed them.

'I think my upbringing in another country has really influenced the way that I look at these things.'

She said she did not agree with 'teaching young people to see themselves as victims rather than just the latest generation of an ever-evolving story'.

Mrs Badenoch said although colonialism was wrong it had happened throughout history and it did not help to 'point fingers'.

The minister said she had faced online abuse from black people over her views. She added: 'And it's not as many... white nationalists. A lot is actually from people who think that I'm betraying my race.' 

A 2020 survey found Britons were more nostalgic for an empire than any other former imperial power.

The polling, from YouGov, showed 27 percent of people in the UK would have liked Britain to still have an empire, 50 percent would not and 23 percent did not know.