Activists call on minister to make education curriculum more inclusive

'We want to show the Government this is the type of education that we want,' said Myriam Poizat, an organiser with Youth Against Racism and Inequality.
Activists call on minister to make education curriculum more inclusive

Youth Against Racism and Inequality delivered a letter calling on education minister Norma Foley  to implement a better inclusion of black, Traveller, and migrant histories into the national curriculum. Picture: Leah Farrell/RollingNews.ie

A group of young activists have staged a protest outside the Dáil to demand a more inclusive education curriculum which includes black, Traveller, and migrant histories.

They are also calling for teachers to be given training in racial awareness.

Youth Against Racism and Inequality (Yari) organised the visual 'Teach Out' action, and also delivered a letter to education minister Norma Foley.

The young people organised a mock classroom with tables, chairs, and posters. 

Young activists from Youth Against Racism and Inequality in front of the Dail today. Picture: Leah Farrell/RollingNews.ie

Young activists from Youth Against Racism and Inequality in front of the Dail today. Picture: Leah Farrell/RollingNews.ie

The students then taught each other the histories of Travellers, migrants, and black people.

Myriam Poizat, a Yari organiser who lives in Dublin, explained that Yari is a youth campaign that was established after the Black Lives Matter protests that emerged last June.

"It started challenging racist attitudes in Ireland ... people of colour and Travellers came forward about what happened to them, detailing their experience of racism in workplaces, schools, and communities," she said. 

Ms Poizat said that young people wanted to build on the momentum to achieve real and concrete gains. 

"There's a huge anti-racism movement among young people ... we know the only way to achieve change is to organise a mass campaign with clear demands, that puts pressure on the establishment," said Ms Poizat.

She says the group is mainly made up of young people of colour who attend school all over Ireland. They have regular meetings over Zoom.

"A key issue which came up was the issue of racism in the education system," she said.

The group would like to see a more diverse national curriculum, which includes black, Traveller, and migrant histories. 

"We want to show the Government this is the type of education that we want," said Ms Poizat.

They also want all teachers to undergo compulsory training. "This is so racist experiences are taken seriously and challenged in schools," she said.

"Some of the young people in Yari said they have tried to report racist discrimination or racist bullying, and it wasn't taken the same way [as bullying in general].

"Teachers might have a lack of experience in dealing with it, and some can be influenced by racist attitudes in society and not take the concerns seriously."

She does not think the group will achieve change straight away, but is hoping that by getting the message out there, more people will join them.

More in this section