THE assistant rector of Dollar Academy has helped to produce a new education pack for Scottish secondary schools to help pupils learn the lessons of a mass genocide in Bosnia in the 1990s.

Robin Macpherson is the co-author of the teacher training resource which was unveiled by the Remembering Srebrenica Scotland charity in Edinburgh recently.

It is aimed at highlighting what can happen when intolerance and prejudice takes hold.

History and RME teachers from across Scotland attended a workshop to learn how the material can be effectively used in the classroom to help create a safe, tolerant society.

Many young Scots are unaware that more than 8,000 people, mainly Muslim men and boys, were murdered in the Bosnian town by the Bosnian Serb army in 1995.

The Scottish board of the charity is chaired by former moderator of the General Assembly of the Church of Scotland, Very Rev Dr Lorna Hood, OBE.

Mr Macpherson, a board member who is also a history teacher at Dollar Academy, said: “Our education pack has been designed to cover two core areas for teachers: subject knowledge and curriculum design.

“We realise that events at Srebrenica are not widely known, so teachers need training to be able to deliver the programme.

“We are mindful of teacher workload, so are keen to make introducing the lessons as easy as possible so that the maximum number of pupils can learn about what happened."

Dr Ned?ad Avdi?, who survived execution squads at Srebrenica that killed his father and uncle, was one of the guest speakers at the launch of the resource at the Edinburgh Training and Conference Venue.

Former United Nations forensic investigator, Robert McNeil, who helped identify the bodies of people dumped in multiple mass graves in Srebrenica, also addressed teachers.

Dr Hood said: “My Christian faith as lived out in the life of Jesus speaks of our shared humanity always seeking to find that which connects us rather than that which divides us, whatever our faith or none.

“Every time genocide happens, the world says: 'never again', yet history shows that it happens again and again.

“Understanding why it happens, and how it can be prevented, is crucial in the education of children and young people.

“There is recent evidence of a rise in hate crimes towards those considered different and non-white even here in Scotland.”

Crown Office figures showed there were 673 charges with a religious aggravation reported in 2016-17, 14 per cent more than in 2015-16.

Dr Hood added: "The story of Srebrenica is not ancient history, it is a recent event in a European country and a reminder that genocide isn't something that happens somewhere else.

"We must begin in our schools and youth centres to help our young people understand the dangers of prejudice and hatred left unchecked."

An event to mark White Armband Day was recently held at the Scottish Parliament.

It was inspired by the day when the Bosnian Serb authorities in Prijedor ordered all non-Serbs to wear white armbands, and mark their houses with white flags, to identify themselves.