Thursday, July 30, 2009

Special privileges for gypsy children in Britain

More than a thousand gipsy and traveller children have been given laptop computers to help them with their schoolwork. The free equipment and wireless internet access is estimated to be worth up to £750 per pupil, and is costing the taxpayer £300,000 a year. Some children are also being handed printers and digital cameras under a controversial Government-backed scheme aimed at encouraging them to stay in education.

Figures have revealed that free IT equipment has been handed to 1,317 pupils from gipsy and traveller families since 2004. However, ministers have admitted that some of the laptops have been used by parents to buy and sell goods, and book foreign holidays online.

Last night, the Conservatives, who obtained the figures, warned that the scheme risked fuelling resentment among taxpayers. Only days ago it emerged that gipsy and traveller children are being given priority admission to popular state schools. In addition, gipsy and traveller families are getting priority to see GPs and dentists.

The Electronic Learning and Mobility Programme (E-LAMP) is designed to offer 'quality distance learning opportunities' to gipsy and traveller children who regularly change schools and are on the move throughout large parts of the school year. Under the scheme, being run in 330 schools, the children are given laptops with, for example, 3G wireless internet software, which enables them to study while travelling and keep in touch with their 'base' school.

There are an estimated one million children from around 350,000 gipsy and traveller families in the UK, but fewer than 9 per cent obtain five good GCSEs including maths and English.

Studies have shown that children who relocate regularly quickly become demotivated with learning and disengaged with their school friends and school life. In addition, many traveller parents provide little support for their children's academic learning, with a small number believing that formal education offers little or no value to their children's futures.

In a written Parliamentary answer, schools minister Jim Knight said 1,317 laptops were issued from 2004 to 2009. He said: 'The vast majority are still out on loan to the students. There have only been seven incidents of minor accidental damage. One laptop was sold by the family, but recovered quickly as it had been tagged.'

A survey by the National Association of Teachers of Travellers has found adult travellers are using their children's laptops to book holidays, shop and sell goods online. It said: 'Initially the restriction on data transfer allowed, due to shared group tariff packages, caused issues when the students became more confident workers and their parents discovered the joys of Amazon, eBay and booking flights online.'

Tory local government spokesman Bob Neill said: 'However well-meaning, I am concerned the Government's policies on travellers threaten to undermine community cohesion and inflame community tensions. 'The British people believe in fair play - it's not fair that one small group get privileged access to public services, whilst hard-working families who struggle to pay their bills and taxes are pushed to the back of the queue.'

SOURCE





AN EDUCATION ROUNDUP FROM AUSTRALIA

The legal threat to Christian schools

I wonder whether Muslim schools will be required to hire teachers hostile to Islam? That should be fun!

What happens when equal rights between men and women are so widely accepted mainstream Australia hardly thinks about it? Surely it is time to acknowledge that anti-discrimination statutes have done their job?

Not according to the Victorian Government. It harbours the view that discrimination has got sophisticated – so hard to find under current law – that we must widen the law to catch more of it.

Its Attorney-General has his sights set on men-only clubs (apparently it is OK to have female-only clubs and it is OK for men-only rules at gay venues). The Government has also put religion on notice it will come under closer scrutiny.

I am actually more worried about indiscriminate behaviour: things like the indiscriminate bashing of innocent people on city streets. Putting an end to that would be a real advance for their human rights. But it’s also hard, so let’s get back to some easier targets.

At present, discrimination statutes don’t apply to religious bodies and their schools on the grounds of freedom of religion. So a parliamentary committee has recommended options to extend the power of the state over the province of religion. One proposed change is to restrict the freedom of religious schools to choose their employees on the basis of their religious faith.

The churches want to continue current practice. But a host of community organisations want to change it. The Federation of Community Legal Services told the parliamentary review the current law should change, saying: "To allow religious organisations a broad exemption for conscience encourages prejudice."

Think about the moral vanity of that statement. According to these lawyers, a religious conscience leads to prejudice. How did the church arouse public conscience over slavery? How did Florence become a haven for the arts and letters to flourish? How did civilisation develop over the past couple of millennia without the Community Legal Services to guide it?

A leading discrimination law expert, Professor Margaret Thornton, wants to narrow the exemption for religious freedom of schools on the grounds that: "If private schools receive money from the state they should be subject to the law of the land." Of course they should be.

The question is whether the law should require them to employ people who are indifferent or hostile to their religion in their schools. At present it doesn’t. Changing that law will affect not only the schools who employ the staff.

Parents who send their children to a Christian school have a reasonable expectation this means the child will get a Christian education. How could the school fulfil its obligation to the parents if it is required by law to employ non-Christian or anti-Christian teachers to provide it? If the law demands this, you might as well close down the concept of a Christian school – which may be what some of the critics intend.

The provisions applying to religion have been operating for more 30 years with no great community outrage. So why is a parliamentary committee reviewing them now? Because, we are told, they have to be assessed for compliance against the 2006 Charter of Human Rights and Responsibilities. This charter was introduced with the promise it would amplify rights and freedoms.

There is something so predictable about this. The human rights industry begins with grand promises and ends up intervening in non-problems. We are led to believe that the purpose of such charters is to stop arbitrary arrests, guarantee a free press and guard against dictatorship. In practice, what does it do? It complicates the life of religious schools and open lawsuits against the churches.

Another inquiry has been set up by the Federal Government to look at promoting human rights. It is looking at a statutory charter of rights. No one will tell you the purpose of such a Commonwealth charter will be to curtail religious conscience or practice. But it will work out the same way.

The crusading lawyers will use any new federal charter against those institutions to which they are hostile. They will have sympathetic ears in the equal opportunity commissions. After all, experience in the human rights industry will be a qualification for appointment to those bodies.

The churches and Christian schools will be in the firing line. As the community legal services make clear – their view is that religious conscience encourages prejudice. Once the churches and religious conscience are out of the way, lawyers will have a clear run. Lawsuits will be used to decide the great moral questions of the age.

You can see what’s in it for the lawyers. But don’t think it is a step forward for liberty.

SOURCE

Brilliant Education Dept. internet filter blocks education sites, but not porn

The whole idea of web filtering is a crock

An internet filter installed by the NSW education department gave students access to pornographic material - but blocked educational sites. One site a Year 10 student opened while searching for a type of bird contained graphic sexual material and was only barred on Monday after inquiries from The Daily Telegraph.

George Cochrane said his school-aged son and daughter, who study by distance education from their farm in Grenfell, were horrified by the sites they could access. Other educational sites and harmless web pages for the local member of parliament - and even Education Minister Verity Firth's own site - have been blocked by the filter.

The Department of Education and Training confirmed that the filter would be used on thousands of laptops for high school students. It is also currently used on all computers in schools.

"My daughter typed in 'swallow', as in the bird, and it blocked access to a documentary on swallowing toothpaste but gave you access to a male site talking about inappropriate material," Mr Cochrane said. "The system isn't actually protecting anybody, especially isolated kids."

An education department spokesman confirmed that the site had been blocked on Monday. He said some questionable websites escaped the filter but staff responded to each concern and updated it daily. "On rare occasions inappropriate websites are not captured," he said.

Acting Opposition education spokesman Andrew Stoner yesterday labelled the filter flaws a "debacle". "Internet access should be a key component of Kevin Rudd's so-called Education Revolution," he said. "Nathan Rees and Education Minister Verity Firth are quick to claim credit for the good news so they should accept responsibility for this debacle and fix it as soon as possible."

SOURCE

Bullying victim gets $484,766

This OUGHT to make the NSW government sit up and become more active in preventing school bullying but it won't. Why? Because they don't know how. The only thing that would do some good would be a good thrashing for each bully and, since there is no such thing as right and wrong anymore, that cannot be considered. Offenders can only be "helped"

A victim of school bullying in northern NSW has had his damages award increased by more than $16,000 to $484,766. Last month in the NSW Supreme Court, Justice Elizabeth Fullerton awarded $468,736 to David Gregory, who had sued the State of NSW.

The now 30-year-old had complained of years of bullying while attending Farrer Agricultural High School at Tamworth in the 1990s. He said the bullying led to behavioural problems such as obsessive compulsive disorder and symptoms of depression.

Today, the judge ruled he should also have received $6030 for past medical treatment and expenses and $10,000 for future treatment. She also ordered the State of NSW to pay the legal costs of Mr Gregory, who now lives in Mollymook on NSW's South Coast.

SOURCE

1 comment:

IftikharA said...

The demand for Muslim schools comes from parents who want their children a safe environment with an Islamic ethos.Parents see Muslim schools where children can develop their Islamic Identity where they won't feel stigmatised for being Muslims and they can feel confident about their faith.
Muslim schools are working to try to create a bridge between communities.

There is a belief among ethnic minority parens that the British schooling does not adequatly address their cultural needs. Failing to meet this need could result in feeling resentment among a group who already feel excluded. Setting up Muslim school is a defensive response.

State schools with monolingual teachers are not capable to teach English to bilingual Muslim children. Bilingual teachers are needed to teach English to such children along with their mother tongue. According to a number of studies, a child will not learn a second language if his first language is ignored.

Bilingual Muslim children need state funded Muslim schools with bilingual Muslim teachers as role models during their developmental periods. Muslims
have the right to educate their children in an environment that suits their culture. This notion of "integration", actually means "assimilation", by which people generally really mean "be more like me". That is not
multiculturalism. In Sydney, Muslims were refused to build a Muslim school, because of a protest by the residents. Yet a year later, permission was
given for the building of a Catholic school and no protests from the residents. This clrearly shows the blatant hypocrisy, double standards and racism. Christians oppose Muslim schools in western countries yet build
their own religious schools.

British schooling and the British society is the home of institutional racism. The result is that Muslim children are unable to develop self-confidence and self-esteem, therefore, majority of them leave schools with low grades. Racism is deeply rooted in British society. Every native child is born with a gene or virus of racism, therefore, no law could change the attitudes of racism towards those who are different. It is not only the common man, even member of the royal family is involved in racism. The
father of a Pakistani office cadet who was called a "***" by Prince Harry has profoundly condemned his actions. He had felt proud when he met the Queen and the Prince of Wales at his son's passing out parade at Sandhurst
in 2006 but now felt upset after learning about the Prince's comments. Queen Victoria invited an Imam from India to teach her Urdu language. He was highly respected by the Queen but other members of the royal family had no respect for him. He was forced to go back to India. His protrait is still in one of the royal places.

There are hundreds of state schools where Muslim pupils are in majority. In my opinion, all such schools may be designated as Muslim community schools with bilingual Muslim teachers. There is no place for a non-Muslim child or a teacher in a Muslim school.
Iftikhar Ahmad
London School of Islamics Trust
63 Margery Park Road London E7 9LD Tele 0208 555 2733/07817 112 667
www.londonschoolofislamics.org.uk