The books making a comeback to HSC English

Students will once again have to study a novel for their HSC after the exam authority amended the new English syllabuses following criticism from education academics who had warned the subject had been significantly “watered down”.

Fairfax revealed earlier this month that the revised English syllabus meant students could do year 12 without reading a book but this week, the board of the NSW Education Standards Authority (NESA) made a ruling to “to clarify the requirement to study a novel in Year 12 in English”.

The standards authority has also released the updated list of texts for HSC English. About 38 per cent of the 101 texts are “classics” including Shakespeare, Jane Austen and TS Eliot, while 36 per cent are by Australian writers such as Henry Lawson, Tim Winton and David Malouf.

???About 40 per cent are female writers and 12 texts provide Aboriginal and Torres Straight Islander perspectives, NESA says.

Jackie Manuel, a Sydney University academic and a former chief HSC English examiner, said it was a positive move to see novels once again made mandatory but she would still want to see poetry also made compulsory.

“If it is that poetry is still optional, then that would be such a shame and in some ways would mean we have only won half the battle,” she said.

A spokeswoman for NESA said the syllabuses include the “requirement to study poetry in either year 11 or year 12”.

The NSW education minister, Rob Stokes, said quality literature had “always been a key component in the range of English courses from standard to extension and this will not change”.

“Our year 12 students of 2019 will continue to have opportunities to study a range of classic and contemporary texts such as Shakespeare, Mary Shelley and John Keats, as well as Tim Winton and Noel Pearson,” Mr Stokes said.

The chair of NESA, Tom Alegounarias, said the new requirement…

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