By Dr Md Shajedur Rahman:
A recent research report indicates that 70% of 14-15 year-old students in English Secondary
schools believe that unfair treatment in job opportunities based on their race, religion, or
nationality is a problem in England. Among those who hold such views, a higher proportion
includes Black, African, Black British or Caribbean and Asian or Asian British students. More
than half of Asian students in England share this view.
On November 22, the University of Birmingham released a research report funded by the
Leverhulme Trust. The report was unveiled in an online event attended by over 30 people
from different areas including, researchers, media personnel, school stakeholders and
The data gathered from more than three thousand tenth-grade students across England
reveals that 46% of students feel uncomfortable or choose not to express their social and
political opinions in school. Only 38% of students feel comfortable expressing their opinions.
The report further reveals that 3 out of 4 students learn about social and political issues
through social media, but 60% of students refrain from expressing their opinions through
50% of Muslim students believe it is bad for democracy when students hold anti-racist
protests at school and are called extremists online.
Professor Karl Kitching, the head of the research team, says ‘we have seen significant
debate about ‘free speech’ focused on university campuses. But government has at the
same time cautioned schools about engaging certain race and faith equality issues, and has
done little to support schools to address such issues.’
He went on, ‘the survey shows that many young people feel their teachers listen to them and
support them. However, there are significant concerns amongst young people about how the
schools deal with race and faith issues in practice, and about how safe and respected they
feel. These concerns impact on the likelihood of young people having access to ‘free
speech’ at school’.
The lead author of this research report is a Bangladeshi researcher, Dr. Shajedur Rahman.
He said that the data collected includes data from Bangladeshi students, and he has an
intention to analyse this information in the future and publish a report.