Reading, at least reading live authors, should be fun. The best kind of education, surely, is one which encourages delight, communicates enthusiasm. Certainly the best kind of readers are those who feel the delight and enthusiasm. I can’t say that I write for children, except in the case of picture book texts, but I love being published for them. Children aren’t a different species, they are us, a few decades ago. And perhaps the part of us that’s still there, underneath, unrecognised, powerful: the part that includes the imagination.

We – teachers, librarians, parents, authors – have a responsibility for the imagination of the child. I don’t mean we have to educate it – you can’t do that, any more than you can teach a butterfly how to fly. But you can help the imagination to develop properly, and to survive things that may threaten it: like the over-use of computers and everything I classify as SOS, Stuff on Screens. I do realize that the Age of the Screen has now replaced the Age of the Page. But on all those screens there are words, and in order to linger in the mind, words still require pages. We are in grave danger of forgetting the importance of the book.

Susan Cooper
Speech given to the Youth Libraries Group, 1990

first make thieves

August 30, 2019

For if you suffer your people to be ill-educated, and their manners to be corrupted from their infancy, and then punish them for those crimes to which their first education disposed them, what else is to be concluded from this, but that you first make thieves and then punish them.

Sir Thomas More
Utopia

Reading

October 27, 2018

Books to read

Today you can buy the Dialogues of Plato for less than you would spend on a fifth of whisky, or Gibbon’s Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire for the price of a cheap shirt. You can buy a fair beginning of an education in any bookstore with a good stock of paperback books for less than you would spend on a week’s supply of gasoline.

Often I hear people say they do not have the time to read. That’s absolute nonsense. In one year during which I kept that kind of record, I read twenty-five books while waiting for people. In offices, applying for jobs, waiting to see a dentist, waiting in a restaurant for friends, many such places. I read on buses, trains and planes. If one really wants to learn, one has to decide what is important. Spending an evening on the town? Attending a ball game? Or learning something that can be with you your life long?

Byron’s Don Juan I read on an Arab dhow sailing north from Aden up the Red Sea to Port Tewfik on the Suez Canal. Boswell’s Life of Samuel Johnson I read while broke and on the beach in San Pedro. In Singapore, I came upon a copy of The Annals and Antiquities of Rajahstan by James Tod.

Louis L’Amour
The education of a wandering man

 

Some Muslim schools ‘make children despise the West’! This is the claim of a new investigation which goes on to suggest “some Islamic schools are promoting fundamentalist views and encouraging children to despise Western society.” The report suggests “Ofsted inspectors are incapable of scrutinising Muslim faith schools properly, and demands an inquiry by MPs.”

The only suprising thing about this, is that the report’s authors seem suprised? I can’t think why?

Anyhow read it here.

“The report alleges of the 133 Muslim primary and secondary schools it surveyed, 82 (61.6 per cent) have connections or direct affiliations to fundamentalists. The 133 schools are in the private sector but supposedly subject to Ofsted inspection.”

” Perhaps the most alarming finding of the investigation is that so many of these schools (including ones with no connections to political extremism) are bricking up their pupils behind a wall of Koranic injunctions and Sharia law.

“These schools known as Darul Ulooms, which base their curriculum on a seventeenth-century Indian teaching system, include very few secular subjects, claims the report. It says: “Their aim is not to prepare pupils for life in the wider world, but to give them the tools for a more limited existence inside the Muslim enclaves.”

“The consequences for bright Muslim British girls are absolutely dire. Lively intellects are being destroyed and brilliant careers cut off before they can begin. To quote the report again: “Every year, an incalculable number of Muslim teenagers and young women are lost to the wider world that informs their citizenship.”

“The numbers (of schools) are increasing fast, and there is confusion over how many schools exist. The growth of non-Muslim schools, it’s suggested, is “hugely overshadowed by a rapidly growing sector of Muslim institutions. These now number 127 [sic] full-time schools and an estimated 700 part-time madrassas for intense religious instruction [and that doesn’t include the Darul Uloom seminaries] … Many recreate in the UK the style and content of schooling that can be found in Pakistan, Bangladesh and India.”

“And all this is happening with the implicit consent of the Government, Ofsted – and Christian leaders, who bang on about the threat to “faith schools” (and, in the case of R. Williams, the virtues of Sharia) while shielding their eyes from the evidence that many Muslim faith schools are poisonously anti-Christian.”

And a link to Damian Thompson’s article last December on this subject here.

Links here to show the problem in Australia.