Wales politics

Welsh education being used for propaganda, says UKIP AM

Neil Hamilton
Image caption Neil Hamilton criticised the Welsh Baccalaureate qualification in the Senedd on Tuesday

Wales' education system is being used as a tool of propaganda, UKIP's Welsh leader has alleged.

Neil Hamilton claimed that parts of the Welsh Baccalaureate on topics like inequality are being taught from a "centre-left disposition".

He said there was a "potential danger" that teachers may be biased, suggesting they may favour the Labour party.

First Minister Carwyn Jones said he saw no examples of "bias" in the curriculum.

The UKIP Wales leader said the qualification included a "global citizen challenge which deals with issues such as cultural diversity, fair trade, future energy, inequality and poverty".

"These are all highly political topics which need to be taught in a balanced way if education is not to degrade itself into mere propaganda," Mr Hamilton told First Minister's Questions in the Senedd.

He said he had seen the materials being used in teaching the courses which are all, he claimed, "from a centre-left disposition".

The comment drew heckles from other AMs.

Image caption Education Secretary Kirsty Williams looked on aghast as Neil Hamilton made his claims

"The false indignation coming from the other side proves the point I'm trying to make here," Mr Hamilton replied, "that because they control the education system it is being used as a tool of propaganda."

Mr Hamilton said the "mindset of a teacher is very important" and, quoting polling figures suggesting many secondary school teachers vote Labour, he said: "Even if bias is subconscious it must be regarded as a potential danger".

'Revisionism'

But the first minister said "anything is centre-left" from Mr Hamilton's perspective, alleging that he had supported the now-repealed Section 28 law that had banned local authorities from intentionally promoting the acceptability of homosexuality.

Mr Jones said: "We prefer balance. He wants right-wing revisionism."

"I trust our teachers, bluntly, and I trust our students to able to think critically for themselves," he told Mr Hamilton.

"There will be different views on how to address inequality, different views on how to address poverty.

"Nevertheless they are hugely important issues that I think every young person needs to think about.

"But I've seen no examples at all of any kind of bias being introduced into the curriculum.

"For my perspective I think it is hugely important that our students do have the ability to go beyond academic subjects because I think it makes them more rounded individuals when they do think more critically and more widely."

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