Racial Prejudice

Question Time — Scottish Executive – in the Scottish Parliament at 2:30 pm on 27th March 2003.

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Photo of Scott Barrie Scott Barrie Labour 2:30 pm, 27th March 2003

To ask the Scottish Executive how it is combating racial prejudice among schoolchildren. (S1O-6706)

Photo of Nicol Stephen Nicol Stephen Liberal Democrat

The Scottish Executive is working with a number of relevant organisations such as the centre for education for racial equality in Scotland and the Scottish Traveller education programme to take forward our commitment to promoting race equality in schools. Moreover, in conjunction with others, we recently launched a CD-ROM resource that was issued to all schools in Scotland to support staff in the effective delivery of anti-racism education.

Photo of Scott Barrie Scott Barrie Labour

The minister will be aware that the Race Relations (Amendment) Act 2000 places a general duty on public bodies, including education authorities and schools, to eliminate unlawful racial discrimination and to promote equality and good race relations. How is the Scottish Executive ensuring that schools and education authorities are carrying out their duties under that legislation?

Photo of Nicol Stephen Nicol Stephen Liberal Democrat

The general duty is also reinforced by a specific duty—with a compliance date of 30 November 2002—on education authorities to come forward with proposals for individual schools to implement a race equality policy. To ensure the act's smooth implementation, the education department set up a race relations act education delivery group, which was made up of a range of key stakeholders, including CERES, the Association of Directors of Education in Scotland, the Educational Institute of Scotland, the Commission for Racial Equality and STEP. That work is on-going and we intend to ensure that all education authorities and schools take their responsibilities in that regard seriously.

Photo of Donald Gorrie Donald Gorrie Liberal Democrat

Will the minister broaden his answer and tell us what the Executive is doing to counter prejudice against English families and prejudice that arises from sectarianism, much of which has a racial background?

Photo of Nicol Stephen Nicol Stephen Liberal Democrat

As Donald Gorrie knows, we seek to tackle all sorts of prejudice. Indeed, the initiative that I mentioned and other aspects of the Executive's work seek to tackle prejudice that arises from sectarianism or is directed at young people from any country. There was much more to our anti-racism campaign than posters and advertisements. We want the issues to be tackled in our schools and have set up websites with links to resources that teachers can use. During this time of increased international tension, it is especially important that the Scottish Executive does absolutely everything in its power to combat all forms of prejudice and to promote the safety and security of all Scotland's schoolchildren and communities.