Taisei Yokusankai Posted March 21, 2007 Report Share Posted March 21, 2007 Je trouve ça dingue, mais ne suis même pas surpris. Schools refuse gifts of 'boring' classics20.03.07 Oliver Twist: Among the classics which have been rejected by schools Dozens of schools have rejected gifts of free classic books because today's pupils find them too 'difficult' to read, it has emerged. Around 50 schools have refused to stock literary works by the likes of Jane Austen, William Shakespeare and Charles Dickens after admitting that youngsters also find them boring. The worrying figures were released by the Millennium Library Trust, which donates sets of up to 300 books to schools across the country. David Campbell, who runs the Trust, also revealed that a further 50 schools had sent back the gifts as they were on the verge of closing down and another 40 said they had no library to store the books. Critics said the figures are a damning indictment of the quality of state education in the UK and come at a time when fewer than half of all teenagers are achieving basic standards in GCSE English. A total of 4,150 schools have received large packages of books under the scheme, which aims to encourage youngsters to read great literary works. The titles include Charlotte Bronte's Jane Eyre, George Eliot's Middlemarch, Charles Dickens' Oliver Twist and JR Tolkien's Lord of the Rings. But Helena Read, librarian at Cotelands school in Linconshire, said: "The bottom line is getting the pupils to read, whether it's a newspaper, comic novel or magazine. "In an ideal world, I would love it if the pupils came into my library and requested some of the classics, but the fact of the matter is that pupils today are living in a different world." She added that pupils are more interested in Japanese comics rather than literary greats. "Kids love action and adventure," Miss Read said. "They want books that excite them and are current. They love fantasy. "The books for nowadays are Manga, the Japanese comic books that you read from back to front." The librarian went on to say that the classics were "unattractive". She said: "I think they are unappealing to youngsters and you've got to fit them into your school bag." Another school, which rejected the free 'Everyman's Library' books, wrote: "The paper jackets are ugly and unattractive and the binding is dull and boring. "What is needed is the familiar paperback format with attractive jacket and abridged versions." Another school complained: "The books are so unattractive they are unlikely to tempt any pupil." The figures came as a new CBI report revealed that many business leaders are complaining that school leavers are lacking in basic literacy, numeracy and other 'employability' skills. Shadow Education Secretary David Willetts said: "These books are the birthright of every child in our country and schools should not be depriving them of the enjoyment of discovering them. "These book were not considered too difficult. It is shocking that they are being described in this way and children who have been taught properly should have no problem enjoying them. "It can only mean that standards of literary are much lower that the government claims." Mr Campbell, who has raised £9million to pay for the books, told the Guardian yesterday: "It never occurred to me that anyone would turn this offer down. "I didn't expect most school pupils to want to read Homer or Virgil, but I thought that there was more than a reasonable chance that quite a few could be coaxed to read (Gabriel Garcia) Marquez, Primo Levi, (Ernest) Hemingway, (Evelyn) Waugh or even Chinua Achebe." He added: "Where I have less sympathy is where librarians or teachers have clearly thrown in the towel and don't believe anyone in the school can be inspired to read beyond the bare syllabus minimum. "I can't believe that one would have had a refusal of such a gift in any other country in Europe, certainly not in Eastern Europe. These books are the DNA of our civilisation. They should be available to everyone as they grow up." However, not all the responses were negative. One school librarian wrote: "We are a low-achieving high school, but we're improving. I would never have been able to find the money in my meagre budget to buy copies of these classics." Another added: "We are hugely privileged to have a collection like this…these wonderful books." Mr Campbell said: "I believe strongly that if just one pupil in each school each year for the next 50 years has his or her life changed by new worlds being opened from reading outside the syllabus, this project will have been worthwhile." http://www.thisislondon.co.uk/news/article…sics/article.do Et aussi: Could there be a school anywhere in the land that would say no to the gift of a good book? It has taken David Campbell eight years and £9m to discover the answer to this question. But that wasn't his aim in 1998, when he dreamed up a plan to donate 300 classic books to every state secondary school in the UK.Campbell is the publisher of the Everyman's Library imprint, those distinctive pocket-sized hardback editions of the classics of world literature. On its title page each volume carries the same quotation from a medieval morality play: "Everyman, I will go with thee and be thy guide." Not all schools, however, have appreciated the gift. A letter from one expressed "dismay and sadness at the waste of money these books are … even an Ofsted inspector asked me why I hadn't binned them". "The paper jackets are ugly and unattractive, and the binding is dull and boring … what is needed is the familiar paperback format with attractive jackets and abridged editions," ran another. Yet another declared: "The books are so unattractive they are unlikely to tempt any pupil." Most alarming, perhaps, was the pronouncement from one school that "the language in all but a few of them is beyond the comprehension of most of the students we see … The harsh reality of our secondary schools is that children just don't have the skills to tackle such complex ideas in the written format." http://education.guardian.co.uk/print/0,,3…-110908,00.html Link to comment
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