Don't romanticise Scots' part in the modern world

15th February 2008 at 00:00
I was very interested to read that the Scottish Parliament had debated the teaching of Scottish history in our schools.

During my travels to promote The Gathering in 2009, which is expected to attract more than 7,500 clan members to Scotland from around the world, I am continually reminded that the Scottish diaspora has a greater knowledge of its history than most Scots.

As we ask ourselves how this situation has been allowed to happen, it is inevitable that we look to the fundamentals of our school curriculum. It is unrealistic to expect to nurture a national pride in the achievements of our historical forefathers if we allow our children to leave school without a basic knowledge of their own country's history.

However, as discussed in the Holyrood debate, it is crucial to provide a measured curriculum that sets out the facts from which young minds can start to formulate their own opinions and debate the issues.

In today's global economy, it is important to understand what an extraordinary contribution the Scots have made to the modern world, while avoiding a predisposition to focus on a romantic and glorified interpretation of our past.

Lord Sempill, director, The Gathering 2009, Queen Charlotte Street, Edinburgh.

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