Tuesday, October 23, 2007

A promising idea

From today's Sydney Morning Herald comes this article by Anna Patty:

More Oz lit in schools

THE [NSW] State Government will introduce more "home-grown" Australian literature into primary and high school curriculums.

The NSW Minister for Education, John Della Bosca, yesterday said he would ask the NSW Board of Studies to review the English curriculum to strengthen the study of Australian literature, with recommendations due by next year.

He said the primary school syllabus needed to become more prescriptive and he wanted a high level course to be introduced to the Higher School Certificate.

"The measures will look at how to ensure high-quality Australian texts were being studied consistently across all NSW schools," Mr Della Bosca said.

"Australian literature is important in providing students with a sense of identity, insight into our diverse culture, historical contexts and our unique place in the world.

"But, particularly in the primary school setting, the syllabus may need to be more prescriptive to make sure all students are reading Australian authors."

The Board of Studies would also be asked to consider the development of an in-depth, high level course in Australian literature to be offered as one of the existing HSC Distinction courses.

The Daily Telegraph's Bruce McDougall (in an 'exclusive') has basically the same story, including this slightly concerning line:

In high schools Peter Carey, Patrick White and David Malouf is among the required reading, while primary students study the likes of Mem Fox, May Gibbs and Colin Thiele.

It's good to see that they've sought out some truly contemporary Ozlit, isn't it? I'd have thought that the above sentence might have read better written thus:

In high schools, books by Markus Zusak, Alyssa Brugman and Margo Lanagan are among the required reading, while primary students study the likes of Morris Gleitzman, Catherine Bateson and John Heffernan.
Yeah, much better.

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