UK-based Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC) has released findings of a study on the ethnic make-up of the school environment and its impact on children’s tolerance, prejudices and approach to diversity. The more diverse, the more children take on what the study calls an “integrationist orientation”.
The study found that children as young as 5 had an integrationist orientation, if exposed to cultures other than their own and that schools with a high ethnically-diverse make up had clear benefits for all children.
Lead researcher Rupert Brown, quoted on the egovmonitor.com website:
“We found that when the proportion of ethnic minority children in a school is at least 20%, both ethnic minority children and majority children tended to have higher self esteem, children had more friendships with children from other ethnic groups, and there were fewer problems with peer relationships such as bullying”.
“Our findings add to a growing body of evidence suggesting that the more contact children have with other ethnic groups, the more cross-group friendships they will have and the less prejudiced they will be”.