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English curriculum fails students

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English curriculum fails students

"Australia's National Curriculum for English is failing to achieve its number one priority: to teach the English language," says Hannah Pandel, Research Fellow at the free market think tank, the Institute of Public Affairs.

"It is more concerned with irrelevant, political material than it is equipping students with the literacy skills they need to succeed - reading, writing, spelling, grammar and knowledge of classic English literature," says Ms. Pandel.

New IPA research released today, Australia's English Curriculum: A Critique, co-authored by Stephanie Forrest, Research Scholar for the IPA's Foundations of Western Civilisation Program, and Researcher Carla Schodde, criticises Australia's National English Curriculum for its failure to address literature of the Western canon and for its inclusion of material that is unrelated to the study of the English language.

"The Western literary canon represents some of the best examples of English writing and storytelling. For students to receive a well-rounded English education, they need exposure to the great writers of the English language - including Shakespeare, Dickens, Austen, and Orwell," says Ms. Pandel.

"Their legacy is spurned at the expense of a curriculum more concerned with influencing the attitudes and ethical development of students.

"It is dangerous for governments to be using schools as an opportunity to push a political agenda," says Ms. Pandel.

"The curriculum is saturated with social studies content, which is at best irrelevant and at worst inherently ideological. The cross-curriculum priorities should not apply to the English curriculum in any way and all inappropriate material must be removed," says Stephanie Forrest.

"Education Minister Christopher Pyne must order a thorough rewrite and structural overhaul of the English curriculum. As it stands, the curriculum is failing in its explicit purpose to teach the English language and its history," says Ms. Forrest.

A full copy of Australia's English Curriculum: A Critique can be downloaded here.

For media and comment: Hannah Pandel, Research Fellow, on 0409 234 530 or at [email protected].

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