UNA-UK has submitted a further response to the UK Department for Education's consultation on reforming the National Curriculum, and followed it up with a letter from Sir Jeremy Greenstock, UNA-UK's Chairman, to the Education Secretary. The letter urges the government to retain teaching about the UN in the citizenship curriculum.
The Association was pleased that following the April consultation round, references to human rights and international law were re-inserted into the programme. However, we were dismayed that references to the UN - which are present in the current citizenship curriculum - continue to be absent from the proposed new programme, due to take effect in September 2014.
Learning about the UN is integral to understanding the UK’s relations with the world. The organisation is a key contributor to the country's international influence, and an effective tool for addressing global challenges. UN initiatives, from trade agreements to combating terrorism, have an impact on the country and its citizens, as do the UN human rights treaties which the UK has chosen to ratify.
It is also an important institution for young people to learn about in the context of the major challenges their generation will face, like environmental degradation and migration. For many pupils, this may be the only opportunity to study current affairs and the role of the international community.
The Association will continue to make representations on this issue, in partnership with the Association for Citizenship Teaching, and hopes that teaching about the UN will continue under the new curriculum.
Photo: 13-15-year-olds take part in a model UN General Assembly during UNA-UK's Generation United Nations masterclass in July 2013 (UNA-UK)