A large slice of England’s children may be left “globally illiterate” because schools are not educating them about the wider world, a charity claims.

A survey of nearly 2,000 children for education charity DEA found one in five had not discussed problems or news stories from around the world.

And only 50% said it was important to have people of different backgrounds living in the same country.

The government said children were being equipped for the globalised world.

The findings come months after schools took on a new duty to promote community cohesion under the Education and Inspections Act 2006.

Two thirds of children questioned (66%) felt they could do something to make the world a better place, while 42% said they believed what they did in their daily lives affected people in other countries.

He [DEA chief executive Hetan Shah] said employers were no longer interested in those with a “little England” mentality and parents felt that their children needed a wider set of skills for life.

Global learning could help, he said, by enabling young people to make sense of the world and their place in it.

He added: “We all want education to be ‘world class’ but if it leaves children with a narrow view of the world and other people then how can we hope them to succeed in the global future that they face?”

Schools minister Jim Knight said: “Thanks to the citizenship curriculum we are putting the ‘world’ into the world class standards to which we aspire; equipping our young people with the knowledge, skills and understanding they need to live in and contribute effectively to a global society.”

He added: “I recently launched the first ‘Who Do We Think We Are’ week where pupils across the country are encouraged to explore their identity, celebrate diversity[…]”

There were also computer links between England’s schools and those overseas, he added.

Liberal Democrat Children’s spokesman David Laws said the results were astonishing given the huge range of modern technologies and access to information that were now available.

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