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Oxford students to get exam on non-white, non-European history

Haiti’s General Toussaint Louverture – Haitian revolution as worthy of study as French revolution, says one academic. Photo credit: Stock Montage/Getty Images

HISTORY STUDENTS at Oxford University will be made to take an exam paper focusing on black, Asian and ethnic minority history, after a major shakeup in the curriculum

The compulsory exam will test students on the lives of BAME world leaders and influential public figures such as Martin Luther King, Malcon X and Mahatma Gandhi.

The change comes as student protests emerged across the country under the campaign “Why is my curriculum white?”

The prestigious UK university has come under fire in recent years for not accepting enough black students, despite an increased number of applicants.

Last year controversy surrounded Oxford’s Oriel College, which is home to a statue of Victorian imperialist Cecil Rhodes.

However, Oxford have insisted that these changes are not a result of external pressures. “It is just formalising what is in effect student practice,” said Martin Conway, professor of contemporary European history and chair of the history faculty at the university. “It was all done and dusted before anybody noticed Cecil Rhodes standing on top of a building.”

In a statement, the university’s History Faculty said the department “regularly reviews and updates its course curriculum to reflect the latest developments in the subject.

“After a number of years of discussion and consultation among ourselves and with students, we have decided to make a number of changes to the curriculum.

“Among these is a requirement that students study one paper (from a wide range of such options) in non-British and non-European history, alongside two papers of British History and two papers of European History.”

In total, students take eleven papers during their history degree, and many choose to take at least one of non-European or British history.

“We are pleased to be modernising and diversifying our curriculum in this way,” the department said.

The new paper will be formally introduced in the next academic term and will run alongside two compulsory papers on British history.

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