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Birmingham City striker Troy Deeney has called for the school curriculum to adopt the “mandatory” teaching of black, Asian and minority ethnic topics in a bid to “combat racist beliefs and stereotypes.”
The 33-year-old ex-Watford star, who has been a vocal champion in the battle against racism, commissioned both a survey with YouGov and launched a petition.
For the YouGov survey, the findings revealed that only 12 per cent of teachers who took part feel “empowered” by teaching ‘optional’ black topics like colonialism, migration and identity.
And a staggering 80 per cent of teachers in the survey believe that the introduction of “culturally diverse, representational” history would prove to be “vital and enriching for white or ethnic minority students.”
Deeney took to Change.org and launched the petition, calling for mandatory adoption of black, Asian and minority ethnic topics in schools, six days ago.
The petition has reached 706 signatures at the time of writing, with the Birmingham captain pointing to Wales’ adoption of compulsory teaching on black, Asian and minority ethnic topics as a sign that it “can be done.”
Deeney has also penned an open letter to Education Secretary Nadhim Zahawi urging him to review the lack of teaching around black, Asian and minority ethnic history.
“I believe the current system is failing children from ethnic minorities,” he said.
“I’ve found I’m not the only one to feel strongly about this subject -- over the past 18 months or so, nearly 400,000 people have signed petitions calling for changes to be made to mandate more diversity on to the national curriculum and numerous debates have been conducted in Parliament.
“Yet the teaching of black, Asian and ethnic minority histories and experiences in schools still remains optional and your Government’s stock response has been that the topics are already there and it is down to teachers and schools to teach them.
“Mr Zahawi, I urge you -- as Secretary of State for Education -- to review this topic again and make the teaching of black, Asian and minority ethnic histories and experiences mandatory throughout the school curriculum.”
Zahawi, a Conservative MP for Stratford-on-Avon, took to Twitter and welcomed Deeney for campaigning on an “important issue.”
Responding to Deeney’s tweet, the secretary of state for education wrote: “Troy, thank you for raising this important issue. It would be good to discuss this with you and I will ask my team to reach out.”
Troy, thank you for raising this important issue. It would be good to discuss this with you and I will ask my team to reach out.— Nadhim Zahawi (@nadhimzahawi) February 22, 2022
A discussion to create action sounds great - I look forward to it.— Troy Deeney (@T_Deeney) February 22, 2022
Deeney, who made 419 appearances for Watford, left the Hornets in 2021 and signed for boyhood club Birmingham on a free transfer.