The Guardian is reporting that author Meg Rosoff has condemned the government’s “assault on childhood”, saying that teaching and learning have become “joyless” in the UK.
Rosoff, the author of seven YA novels including the international bestseller How I Live Now, was speaking as she received the SEK5m (£410,000) Astrid Lindgren Memorial award, the world’s richest prize for children’s literature, in Stockholm on Monday night.
She told her audience that she had met “too many children” in the UK “who cut themselves with razors, starve themselves, who suffer depression and anxiety, who believe what the government tells them – that nothing is more important than exams. That art and music and books will not help them make money. That it is OK to close libraries and do away with librarians.”
There have been widespread protests in the UK over library closures, with more than 300 estimated to have been shut down over the last six years. The recent Sats tests, boycotted by some parents, have also been slammed by authors, in particular the teaching of writing and grammar which they say “no longer reflects what writing really does”.
Rosoff told the award ceremony: “It is no wonder that teachers in the UK are quitting in record numbers. It has become a joyless profession. Learning has become joyless as well, and students are not able to quit. In Britain we are experiencing, quite literally, an assault on childhood.”
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