End divisive language in education, school pupils’ union says

Children from migrant backgrounds are more likely to be sent to a lower-stream school. Photo: Depositphotos.com
Photo: Depositphotos.com

School pupils’ union Laks has called for an end to describing schools as ‘black’ or ‘white’ or ‘high’ and ‘low’ education as part of an inclusivity drive.

The organisation also wants to update language in the classroom so that teachers say ‘good morning everyone’, rather than ‘good morning boys and girls’, and to stop classes being divided into project groups along sex lines. 

Laks is launching its own language guide in an effort to stop the use of stereotypical terms in education.

In particular, Laks says there should be an end to describing schools as black or white depending on their ethnic minority make-up and that children should no longer be described as achterstandleerlingen, or ‘being behind’ their peers.

Children who repeat a year at school should no longer blijven zitten or ‘remain in their seat’ and the terms ‘high and low’ should be scrapped as ways to describe different levels of education, Laks said.

It also wants to see an end to the formal excellente moniker for high-performing schools because it is divisive – a move also supported by teachers and some MPs.

The guide should not be seen as a list of banned words, said Laks spokesman Cylus Kawesi. ‘We want to show that language is dynamic and are giving tips and suggestions for dealing with it,’ he said. ‘And we would urge others to start having the same conversation.’

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