Following the announcement that American novels will no longer be part of GCSE English literature, books from Australia, New Zealand and Nigeria are being axed too.
I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings, African-American writer Maya Angelou’s autobiography, is just one of a clutch of classics that have fallen prey to the government’s controversial reforms of GCSEs.
Last week OCR revealed that John Steinbeck’s novel Of Mice and Men had been axed from its new GCSE English Literature syllabus. Now AQA has announced that novels from a range of foreign authors will not be taught from September 2015, The Independent reports.
The novels that have been dropped include:
- To Kill a Mocking Bird by American Harper Lee
- A Purple Hibiscus by Nigerian author Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie
- Mister Pip by New Zealand’s Lloyd Jones
- Rabbit Proof Fence by Australian Doris Pilkington.
Michael Gove has denied that the DfE has put pressure on exam boards to ban foreign authors from the new syllabus and that it is up to exam boards to decide which set books should be included, subject to the government’s minimum requirements. “GCSE specifications are only a starting point. Parents will rightly expect their children to read more than four pieces of literature over two years of studying for their GCSEs. It is important that pupils read widely, as they will in future be tested on two unseen texts which can be by authors outside of the exam board specification,” a DfE spokesman said. However, exam board AQA said that it would be impossible to include additional texts beyond the government’s minimum requirements without placing “an unacceptable assessment burden” on schools.
Do you think it matters that all these major novels from international authors are being dropped? Is it right that the new syllabus places greater emphasis on British works?