UK Children Less Informed about the Commonwealth, Survey Shows

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31st July 2014 17:27 - Public Consultation

According to a recent survey, children in the UK are less informed about what the Commonwealth is than non-UK Commonwealth member children.

The study, which was conducted by the British Council, discovered that around three fifths (57%) of UK seven to 14-year-olds knew what the Commonwealth was – one fifth less than children from other Commonwealth countries (78%).

The 1,157-strong sample of seven to 14 year olds was made up of 357 UK participants, and 800 non-UK Commonwealth member children.

When asked what the Commonwealth means to them, ‘former British Empire’ (33%) was the most popular response among British respondents, with ‘shared language, culture and history’ (24%) featuring most commonly with non-UK participants.

The survey’s findings also showed that more than nine in 10 (93%) non-UK children were proud to be a Commonwealth member – around one third more than UK youngsters (61%).

Furthermore, seven in 10 (70%) non-UK respondents said learning about the Commonwealth had improved their understanding of global issues, compared to less than one third (32%) of UK participants.

When questioned about the Commonwealth Games, which are currently taking place, less than half (45%) of the UK’s portion of the sample said they planned to watch it, significantly less than the number of non-UK children who intended to view the competition (82%).

In addition, all of the survey’s respondents were positive about the inclusion of disabled athletes in the Games. Just under two thirds (64%) of UK children said other sporting events should follow suit, with almost eight in 10 (78%) of non-UK seven to 14-year-olds agreeing.

Julia Amour, the British Council’s UK Regional Director, said: “It is essential for the UK’s future global competitiveness that our young people are highly internationally aware and willing to engage with other cultures – this survey suggests our school children are lagging behind the rest of the world in fostering an international outlook.

“The Commonwealth Games has a vital role to play in inspiring young people not just to embrace sport, but also embrace the world. The UK has to seize the opportunity over the next two weeks and ensure there is a strong social, as well as sporting legacy from Glasgow.”

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