High school students in the United Kingdom will soon find controversial comedian Russell Brand and rapper Dizzee Rascal in their course material.
In a move that goes against their generally traditionalist views, the U.K. education board approved new experimental study material for students, who from next September will read Brand's views on drug abuse in their books along with a transcript of Rascal's interview.
The forthcoming syllabus will also contain columnist Caitlin Moran's tweets, slave narrative "Twelve Years a Slave," and articles of the Guardian's mysterious author "The Secret Footballer."
Both Brand and Rascal had a troubled relationship with academia when they were in school. Brand was expelled from the Italia Conti Academy on account of his drug problem and poor attendance, while Rascal was an even greater troublemaker. The grime MC was chucked out from four schools and owes his moniker to a school teacher who used to call him a rascal for his misbehavior.
Add to it the contentious nature of their work and the two become the antithesis of everything the schooling system stands for. But instead of focusing on their negatives, the high school syllabus will focus on the positive aspect of their personalities. Brand, for instance, is a former drug abuser who has been sober for 11 years. His say on the topic would automatically appeal more to the youth than anyone else's.
However, introducing contemporary topics and personalities to the school syllabus won't come at the cost of old classics. Literature spanning the works of George Orwell, William Shakespeare, Emily Dickinson and others will continue to enjoy the same status as before.
In America, while the work of contemporary artists is taught in college, it isn’t the case at the school level. In times when the rest of the world is becoming more progressive about their education system, it's unfortunate that our textbooks are being used as tools to proliferate false indoctrination for political gains.