Panel Says British Students Should Take National Oath of Allegiance Before Leaving School
LONDON – British students should take an oath of allegiance to the queen and participate in citizenship ceremonies as a way to boost national pride, a government-commissioned review said Tuesday.
Citizenship ceremonies for students, similar to those held for new citizens, would help them mark the transition into adulthood, said the review conducted by a panel led by former Attorney General Lord Goldsmith.
"People from a wide range of backgrounds felt that ceremonies for young people would emphasize what they have in common; confer a sense of achievement for what they have learned and done as part of citizenship education at school; as well as provide them with a spur to continue to be active citizens," Goldsmith said.
Prime Minister Gordon Brown has made pride in British citizenship a theme of his first year in office.
His office said Tuesday that Brown welcomed Goldsmith's review and saw it as a good issue to have a debate about, recognizing that that people will have different views on the various proposals.
Goldsmith said the ceremonies should be a celebration, but also should emphasize that young people are "acquiring responsibilities to contribute to making a better society."
There was opposition, however, to forcing students in multicultural Britain to pledge allegiance to the United Kingdom and Queen Elizabeth II.
The United Kingdom is comprised of Britain — England, Scotland and Wales — and Northern Ireland.
Jim Mather, the Scottish enterprise minister, said Scots would oppose such ceremonies.
"People are hanging together, their loyalty is to each other here in Scotland. Sovereignty still lies with the Scottish people," Mather told British Broadcasting Corp. radio.