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Thursday, May 14, 2015

Carwyn Jones: Welsh people ‘least knowledgeable’ in Europe on their own history

14 May 2015
Posted by Daily Wales
Posted in News
By Daily Wales correspondent
The Welsh First Minister believes Welsh people know less about their own history than any other nation in Europe.
As the man in overall control of the nation’s education, you might expect this to form part of a radical rethink on the way children are taught in Wales.
But it’s not. Instead, he made the remark while muttering about the importance of good signage at Welsh historical sites.
It was part of a Cardiff Bay talk to members of UNESCO – the organisation which decides on which landmarks should receive special World Heritage status.
He is reported to have said:
“It is probably true to say that the Welsh people are the least knowledgeable of their own history as a group than possibly anybody else in Europe.
“People know a little bit about Welsh history. You can talk to people about what happened in the 13th century, you can talk to people about Glyndwr, you can talk to people about the Anglicisation of the Welsh gentry – what I did at A-level history – they don’t know about that.
“The industrial heritage we have, again people quite often are not aware of it. So being able to use our World Heritage sites to promote knowledge amongst our own people and across the world widely is crucial.”
The problem of English and British perspectives dominating the teaching of history in Welsh schools was highlighted by a 2013 report compiled by a Welsh Government appointed panel.
The Cwricwlwm Cymreig study found that:
“The influence of this belief that the history of England is the only ‘proper’ history is still to be seen in the custom of referring to the history of Wales as a subject distinct from history itself.
“The history of the state, and thus of England, is the official history, namely, the history taught in the country’s schools since the public education system developed in the Victorian era.
“This did not have to mean a complete absence of Welsh history in schools. Given that Wales had been a part of England, practically and constitutionally, for so many centuries, it follows that Welsh history had to be studied in the wider context of English history.
“However, when added to a historic lack of confidence in Welsh national identity, too often Anglocentric British history became the only kind of history taught. Rather than interpret Wales within a British context, Wales was often simply just left out of the history taught in schools.”
In Scotland, the curriculum was changed in 2013 to promote a greater understanding on the country’s history, culture and language

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