International Education

Part of the debate – in the Scottish Parliament at 10:12 am on 24th April 2008.

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Photo of Kenneth Macintosh Kenneth Macintosh Labour 10:12 am, 24th April 2008

It is clear that a visit is not the only way to learn about concentration camps, but the minister needs to make up her mind. I was quite impressed when she said that she wants to go to Auschwitz-Birkenau. She recognises the benefit of that for herself and others, but she is unwilling to extend that benefit to pupils.

The Scottish Government seems to say that it is okay for UK ministers and local authorities to decide to allocate funding to such trips, but that it is not okay for Scottish ministers. What is the minister's job? If she wants Scottish pupils to have the same choices as others have, she should commit to providing such funding today.

I will conclude with a quotation from a concentration camp survivor that is often used to stimulate discussion among teachers. His request to teachers was this:

"Help your students become human. Your efforts must never produce learned monsters, skilled psychopaths, educated Eichmanns."

If the minister fails to understand that injunction, that merely reveals the contrast between the warm words that are at the heart of the motion and real support, which is measured in action.

I move amendment S3M-1768.2, to insert after "across the world":

"; believes that Holocaust education, including visits to the Auschwitz concentration camp, is an important part of lessons on citizenship and international education; agrees that the Scottish Government should ensure that the Barnett consequentials of the £4.65 million in funding announced by the UK Government for visits to Auschwitz are used specifically to support Scottish pupils for this same purpose".