Irish children to be taught about white privilege, gender, and sexual diversity

The topics are included in a draft curriculum published this week by Ireland’s National Council for Curriculum and Assessment

editor: REMIX NEWS
author: Thomas Brooke

A new draft curriculum proposed by the Irish education ministry’s advisory council has recommended the introduction of classes to educate children about white privilege, gender identity, and sexual diversity.

The plans put forward by the National Council for Curriculum and Assessment (NCCA), which advises the Minister for Education and Skills, are expected to be included in the Senior Cycle SPHE curriculum for 15- to 18-year-olds.

Students will be asked to explore the topic of gender, which is defined in the draft consultation document as “socially and culturally constructed.” Classes will focus on the “socially constructed roles, responsibilities, characteristics, behaviors, activities, and attributes that a given society considers appropriate for women and men” and the “harmful attitudes around gender perpetuated in the media, online, and in society.”

Young people will be expected to consider “a person’s felt internal and individual experience of gender, which may or may not correspond with the sex registered at birth.”

Additionally, the draft curriculum will explore issues surrounding “sexual diversity” with students taught about LGBTQI+ issues. Sexual identities include lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer, and intersex, as well as “additional gender identities and sexual orientations that are not specifically covered by the five initials.” There are now actually six initials used in the increasingly elongated abbreviation of growing sexual identities.

Students will also be expected to focus on what the draft curriculum describes as “allyship skills,” which refers to the “actions, behaviors, and practices used to support, advocate, and collaborate with others, in support of justice and equity.”

One key component of this section related to “recognizing and using one’s privileged status,” and the draft consultation specifically identifies being White or male as two examples of privileged status.

This draft curriculum is now subject to a public consultation, which runs until Oct. 18, with people encouraged to submit their thoughts via an online survey.

As Irish news outlet Gript reported last year, the NCCA has been pushing for what it perceives to be a “white privilege” issue to be included in school education for some time, reiterating the importance of learning “from the history of whiteness and racism.”

Last year, the body endorsed an activity first suggested by U.S. social justice activist Paul Kivel where teachers have students stand in a line facing a wall and ask them questions about their ethnicity or race; children are also asked about sensitive issues such as their household’s income and whether or not they were sexually abused as young children.

The objective of the exercise was to ascertain which pupils were “privileged” and which weren’t.

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