London Inner City Schools Resemble Ghettos

December 1, 2011

Unlocking Word Meanings
Read the following words/expressions found in today’s article.
1. ghetto (n.) [get-oh] a section of the city where  people of the same ethnicity are forced to live together for economic or social reasons
    Example: Immigrants living in ghettos are usually unemployed.

2. apartheid (n.) [uh-pahrt-heyt, -hahyt]– a former social system in South Africa in which black people and people from other racial groups did not have the same political and economic rights as white people and were forced to live separately from white people
    Example: The apartheid era began in 1948 and ended in 1994.
3. segregation (n.) [seg-ri-gey-shuhn]– separation of people according to race or any other category
    Example: In some countries, segregation by skin color is prohibited.

4. socialize (v.) [soh-shuh-lahyz]– to interact with other people
     Example: Employees can socialize with each other during company parties.

5. exaggeration (n.) [ig-zaj-uh-rey-shuhn] – something that is said to be more than the reality
    Example:  The athlete runs fast, but to say he can run as fast as a bullet is an exaggeration.

Read the text below.

Primary schools in some parts of London might turn into ghettos as pupils become divided by race, according to David Levin, head of City of London School.   

During the Headmasters' and Headmistresses' Conference (HMC), Levin compared London schools to South Africa during the apartheid era—a period wherein black and white people were separated from each other. Levin cites Stepney Green Maths and Computing and Science College where 97% of the students have Bangladeshi roots.

Levin feared that this segregation may impair how students’ socialize with people of different cultures. It may also lead to social unrest, as what happened to the riots in Oldham in 2001. According to a 2009 Bristol University report, schools in Oldham remain segregated. Eighty percent of Bangladeshi or Pakistani students attend schools with only about 20% white students. In contrast, 70% of white pupils attend school where about 80% are also white.

Surprisingly, private schools with the most students of the same ethnicity are outperforming public schools. For this reason, Levin suggested that both schools should all the more work together.

However, councilors from East London considered Levin’s comparison of the situation at London schools to South African apartheid an exaggeration. They argued that students’ success does not depend on the ethnicity of their classmates but on the quality of the education they receive.

Viewpoint Discussion
Enjoy a discussion with your tutor. 
Discussion A

·         Do you think it is good for people of different races to interact with one another? Why or why not?
·         Do you want to socialize with other races?

Discussion B

·         Why do you think discrimination is still rampant?
·         Can you think of simple ways to prevent discrimination?

December 1, 2011