Scottish Pupils May Be Taught That Loch Ness Monster is Allusion to 'Primitive' Scotland - Report

CC BY 2.0 / Michael Hicks / img_5549 Loch Ness monster
 Loch Ness monster - Sputnik International, 1920, 27.03.2022
A mysterious underwater creature called "Nessie" by its fans, has been sort of an urban legend and a popular tourist attraction in Scotland. The number of those who claim they've spotted the monster is growing, according to data from the Official Loch Ness Monster Sightings Register.
The Scottish government has rolled out a social studies lesson plan, which stipulates pupils being taught a theory that the Loch Ness Monster is nothing but a symbol of England's domination of Scotland, the Daily Mail reports.
The 17-page plan seen by the newspaper says that secondary school teachers should tell pupils about a correlation between the monster's portrayal in films and Scotland's image and how it affects "wider contemporary topics, such as the Independence Referendum". Prime Minister Boris Johnson has repeatedly rejected calls for a second independence referendum in Scotland, stressing that the previous vote in 2014 had already resolved the issue.

The teaching blueprint aims to help pupils aged 11 to 14 "recognise persuasion and bias", arguing that the Loch Ness creature was "designed as a tourist attraction to appeal to the motoring middle classes" during the economic downturn in the 1930s, also known as the Great Depression.

The plan claims that the creature appearing in movies "shows the somewhat ambivalent position that Scotland holds in the Union […] the very idea of a prehistoric monster in a loch affirms the stereotypical idea that Scotland – by contrast to England – is a rural wilderness, perhaps one bypassed by progress".
According to the document, the depiction of the monster suggests that "although there was a 'primitive' wilderness in Scotland before the state of Britain, the modern state has the ability to control it using advanced knowledge and technologies".

The material argued that the Nessie legend was "indicative of the development of the modern state of Britain", adding that the creature's depiction "reveals a lot about Scotland's position within the Union, […] the supposedly unified national community to which people could imagine a sense of belonging". The plan added that "cinematic depictions of Nessie enabled Britain to imagine itself as a modern and unified state".

Referring to the 1996 family drama "Loch Ness" and the 1983 short movie "The Loch Ness Monster", the teaching guide noted that "this monstrous destruction of the nation's capital questions whether Scotland may be dragged into the dangerous arena of the Cold War due to its relationship with England […] and indeed, Britain's 'special relationship' with the USA".
The plan was slammed by Chris McGovern, chairman of the UK non-profit organisation Campaign for Real Education, which he said is undoubtedly "presenting anti-British bias". He asserted that the blueprint "seeks to brainwash pupils into believing that Scotland is the victim of a wicked conspiracy to subvert and infantilise its identity".

"The nationalist cause must be in desperate trouble if it has to resort to such propaganda tactics with young people. My advice to teachers is to use the Nessie Plan itself as an example of how 'bias' is used by educators", McGovern stated.

The Scottish government's executive agency, Education Scotland, responded by saying that "through the study of films, the resource encourages students to debate, to analyse bias, and understand the role film has played in shaping the global view of Scotland", also seeking "to support pupils in learning about the importance of respecting the heritage and identity of others".
The legend about the mysterious ancient creature living in Loch Ness, a large freshwater lake located in the Scottish Highlands, still attracts a lot of tourists to the area. The Official Loch Ness Monster Sightings website's latest estimates show that the number of such sightings is currently 1,136.
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