Philip Pullman attacks ‘monstrous’ English education policy

Jul 8, 2018 by

The His Dark Materials novelist says current ‘fetish’ for exams is unnecessary and could ruin children’s lives

The government’s “complete fetish” for exams is badly wrong, according to Philip Pullman, who believes the focus on testing will “ruin children’s lives”.

The His Dark Materials novelist told the Press Association that those in charge of education today “seem to think the function of a book … is to provide exercises for grammar and it’s not, of course. The function of a book or a poem or a story is to delight, to enchant, to beguile.”

The award-winning children’s writer and former teacher said that while children needed to be tested, emphasis on the results is too great: “To make [exams] a complete fetish and to make the very existence of the school depend on success in the league tables is just monstrous”.

Instead of being put through Sats tests – which have been widely criticised by children’s authors, including Pullman, in the past – he said children should read for pleasure.

“The government or whoever is in charge of education has got it badly wrong,” he said. “They seem to be doing their best to ruin children’s lives. We hear of the desperate straits that some children get into now, older children who are facing GCSEs and A-levels and so on. It’s entirely unnecessary … There’s no need for it whatsoever. It’s damaging, it’s destructive, it’s entirely counter-productive.”

Source: Philip Pullman attacks ‘monstrous’ English education policy | Books | The Guardian

Print Friendly, PDF & Email

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.