dinsdag 5 april 2011

Vijftig boeken per jaar zonder bibliotheken

De Britse minister van Onderwijs heeft verkondigd dat kinderen van 11 ten minste 50 boeken per jaar zouden moeten lezen. Een heel goed idee en nobel streven.Britse kinderen lezen maximaal twee boeken per jaar. Maar het is wel in tegenspraak met het beleid van deze minister omdat ook de Britse regering op dit moment sterk kort op de budgetten van bibliotheken en op leesbevordering voor kinderen.

U.K. Authors Weigh In on Education Secretary's 50-Book Challenge

By SLJ Staff March 23, 2011

What a load of rubbish. That's what Philip Pullman, Anthony Browne, and Alan Gibbons are saying about a recent comment by British Education Secretary Michael Gove, who asked leading U.K. children's authors to recommend that kids as young as 11 read 50 books a year as part of a national drive to improve literacy standards.

"While Education Secretary is burbling inanely about getting kids to read 50 books, his government is presiding over the closure of over 500 public libraries and an increasing number of school libraries," writes Gibbons (left) on his blog.

A longtime champion of school and public libraries, Gibbons once declared that cuts to local library services across his country amounted to "cultural vandalism," and his frustrations—and disappointments—echo exactly what's going on here.

"Just look what the Head teacher says," Gibbons writes. "The library is not underused. It is doing a good job. Even so, the school feels it has to close it down. This is happening in a country which has tumbled from seventh to 25th in the world for its reading standards. I call this madness."

Gove made his comment following a tour of America's state-funded charter schools, including Harlem's Infinity Charter School, which set its pupils an annual "50-book challenge."

Gove said U.K. schools needed to "raise the bar" on children's reading, especially since a vast majority of students there read one or two books as part of their General Certificate of Secondary Education (GCSE)-the rough equivalent of a high school diploma.

"We should be saying that our children should be reading 50 books a year, not just one or two for GCSE," said Gove, whose comments followed a December report that showed British teenagers slipping 17th to 25th place in an international league table for reading standards.
U.K. children's laureate Anthony Browne (right) told the Guardian that he too was surprised by Gove's comments because they're at complete odds with the library closures taking place under his government's watch.

"It's always good to hear that the importance of children's reading is recognized, but rather than setting an arbitrary number of books that children ought to read, I feel it's the quality of children's reading experiences that really matter," Browne said, explaining that the government is also cutting programs, such as Bookstart, which give free books to children. "Pleasure, engagement and enjoyment of books is what counts-not simply meeting targets."

Frank Cottrell Boyce, author of the children's novels Cosmic (Walden, 2010) and Millions (Macmillan, 2004), told the Guardian that while Gove's motives were right, the government's wider actions—like closing libraries—went against what Gove wants, "which is just a disaster."