When Christopher Bantick’s opinion piece appeared in The Age on Thursday, criticising the inclusion of Gabriel García Márquez’s classic Love in the Time of Cholera on the VCE syllabus, it was easy enough to laugh off as the opinion of a senior Literature teacher demonstrating why they should perhaps retire.
The article garnered much attention, and I had initially thought it was harmless (though admittedly depressing) clickbait, disappearing as quickly as it had reared its ugly head in the pages of my newspaper. Passages such as this:
Any teacher abrogating their duty of care and who is misguided enough to teach the book will face this question from a student: ‘What is your view on sex with a child?’ If they say it is unacceptable, then a student can surely ask, ‘Why is the book on the course?’ There is no defence.
But with the news on Friday that the Victorian Curriculum Assessment Authority has decided to review its decision to include the novel on the curriculum, the issue becomes more serious, and I find myself wanting to respond.