New Role for Teachers In The UK

2015-01-21 03:59

It seems the British government wants to change the role of foundation phase teachers to that of intelligence officers.

According to news reports, UK government, under counter-terrorism measures proposed by the Home Office, wants nurseries and child-minders to report potential terrorist toddlers.

Such extreme measures challenges all rationality and logic. It is counterproductive and is against the basics of early childhood development.

How can little kids who basically have no idea of what is happening around their little space show symptoms of becoming a terrorists or extremists? Even more difficult will be the teachers’ task of identifying children who could grow up to be a potential threat to humanity. How will teachers recognize or spot terrorist behaviour or ideas in a little child? Will teachers be trained to identify "potential terrorists"? What criteria will be used to add the name of a toddler in the “black book”? What words, sentences or phrases constitute “extremist” or “offensive”? Will a child asking critical questions be monitored or regarded as extremist?

In South Africa for example, the role of anti- apartheid movements, the White minority rule and the Nationalist government are discussed at home and children are au fait with such politically-inclined topics. Does that qualify as accepting and propagating extremism or terrorism? Would such a home and child be reported?

Such extreme measures will prevent a child’s ability for critical thinking and the child can become paranoid. Such measures will impair their ability to think, explore, venture and take risks. Children should be thrusting, ambitious and motivated.

Many critics of the proposed law believe that such a law will not stop terrorist threats, is unworkable and cannot be implemented. It also undermines democratic principles and is heavy handed.

To quote Isabella Sankey, policy director at human rights body Liberty: “Far from bringing those at the margins back into mainstream society, it will sow seeds of mistrust, division and alienation from an early age.”

Although this is far from ever becoming law in the UK, the fact that it is being discussed seriously within government is disturbing.

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