Two leading charities are calling for anti-racist education and black Scottish history to be included in the school curriculum to stem the tide of racism experienced by Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic (BAME) young people in Scotland.

Intercultural Youth Scotland (IYS) and The Coalition for Racial Equality and Rights (CRER) have been independently campaigning for Scotland's education system to be revised to include BAME heritage and history but say that teachers also need to be equipped in explicit anti-racist education.

In November 2019, IYS published a first-of-its-kind report on the experience of BAME secondary school pupils across central Scotland. Some 100 young people gave their views on racism, the school curriculum and their treatment compared to their white peers.

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The charity's founder, Khaleda Noon, told The Herald that the issues faced by BAME young people have only been amplified due to the Covid-19 pandemic and the widespread anger over the killing of George Floyd in America: "Young black Scots are leaving school with higher qualifications but they're not represented equally in the workplace.

"What's going on is impacting their mental health and there's evidence that young BAME Scots receiving estimated grades in schools will suffer from bias and racism. These young people are in an unprecedented situation that could cause structural disadvantage that deepens the implicit bias."

The ambassadors for the youth-led organisation that delivers youth group work and anti-racist activism and education are feeling "very frustrated, very betrayed", Ms Noon, who will present in front of an Equalities and Human Rights Committee at Holyrood today to highlight the issues faced by BAME youth during the coronavirus outbreak, said.

She said: "Racism is happening over here and people experience the trauma of structural racism every day. Right now people are listening but the ambassadors want to remind people that [standing up to racism] is not some sort of trend, it actually involves their lives and intrinsic identity, their history, their pain, their inequality and the lack of reparation."

CRER, who work to eliminate racial discrimination and promote racial justice across Scotland, have been campaigning for a museum of Back history to be built in Glasgow, as well as the history of Scotland's extensive slaving past to be taught in schools.

In 2019, they published a resource with Scotland's anti-bullying organisation respectme providing information and guidance to school staff on addressing racist bullying and looking at the impact on children and young people.

Zandra Yeaman, communities and campaigns officer for CRER, said the first step is getting people to understand what racism actually is - and that can be effectively taught through the lens of Black Scottish history.

She said: "We cannot expect to resolve the racial inequalities persisting today without understanding the history that brought us to this point. This should be embedded throughout our education system.

"‘Scotland’s Amnesia’ has allowed Scots to distance themselves from their involvement in shaping a global attitude of racial hierarchy that has and continues to have an influence in all areas of life in Scotland.These racial hierarchies were developed to justify the abhorrent actions of Western Nations, especially in relation to empire, slavery and colonialism"

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EIS general secretary, Larry Flanagan, said: “The EIS believes that embedding anti-racist education across the curriculum is absolutely essential. We are committed to achieving this objective and as a union have created a range of anti-racism resources and professional learning opportunities for our members in recent years. In light of the inadequate investment in anti-racist education resources for use in schools, the EIS continues to raise this matter with the Scottish Government, Education Scotland and local authorities with a view to the gaps being filled.

"We see the inclusion of Black Scottish history within the curriculum as an important element of this in supporting young people to understand the connections between Scotland’s wealth and the Atlantic slave trade, the legacy of this in contemporary Scotland, and the struggles for racial justice that are still ongoing today .”