I’ll have more to say about this soon, but here’s a teaser:
Minister for Education Julie Bishop, in a speech at the Australian Literature Roundtable dinner on Monday night said:
It is a disturbing trend that in Queensland, for example, the number of students studying English or English Literature dropped from 93 per cent to 80 per cent of year 12 students over the past decade, while the number of students studying the softer option of English Communication rose from 2400 to 8500 students.
Ignoring for a moment that English Communication frequently turns up on the curriculum for High School preparation courses and for students from non-English speaking backgrounds, it is a strange statement from a government that has pushed the idea of vocational training over that of education for a decade.
Yes, maybe some people’s subject choices are disturbing; or maybe it is an indication that some young people recognise that learning about practical communication in real-world situations is going to be of more benefit in the job market than an appreciation of the nuances of Shakespeare (and I speak as one who does value the nuances of Shakespeare).