NRI authors to dominate UK school syllabus
Indian-origin British author and filmmaker Meera Syal and India-born George Orwell have been given priority in a new English literature syllabus for...
LONDON: Indian-origin British author and filmmaker Meera Syal and India-born George Orwell have been given priority in a new English literature syllabus for schools in the UK.
It is being seen as a sign of a move away from American texts as the AQA (The Assessment and Qualifications Alliance) exam board became the second UK school board to not include any American novels or plays as part of its proposed compulsory texts.
Earlier, there were protests and online petitions over the OCR (Oxford, Cambridge and RSA examinations) exam board's dropping of US authors such as John Steinbeck or Arthur Miller.
However, UK education secretary Michael Gove rejected claims of any "ban".
A department for education (DfE) spokesperson said the new set of guidelines for schools represent "only the minimum pupils will be expected to learn" and that exam boards could still include modern writers from outside the British Isles.
"It doesn't ban any authors, books or genres," said a DfE spokesman.
In response, the AQA said: "Technically it would not be impossible to add additional texts beyond the essential requirements, to do so would place an unacceptable assessment burden on teachers and students."
The titles on the AQA's list for prose and drama are from British-born or British-based writers, including Syal's 'Anita and Me', Orwell's 'Animal Farm', Kazuo Ishiguro's 'Never Let Me Go' and Dennis Kelly's 'DNA'.
The reforms to the English literature GCSE exam aim to ensure that pupils read a wider range of literary work, across a range of eras, and to prevent an over-emphasis on a handful of over-used texts.
Andrew Hall, AQA's chief executive, said: "We know that everyone will have an opinion about which texts should be studied and that we can't please everyone.
"However, the combination and choice we have included on our set text lists has been guided by the feedback we have had from English teachers, whose job it is to bring literature to life."