Literature pushed out by media studies

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The Independent Online

Increasing numbers of students are analysing soap operas and television commercials rather than studying classic novels, according to a report by the Government's exam watchdog.

Schools are abandoning English literature GCSE in favour of media studies, which is regarded by many as an easier option and which gives higher marks, the study by the Qualifications and Curriculum Authority found.

Teenagers who traditionally took two English GCSEs - English and English literature - are now being encouraged to sit exams in English and media studies instead, concluded the report, Media Matters. The popularity of the media studies GCSE is still small in comparison with English literature's 576,000 candidates, but it is growing fast. The number of students taking it has risen by nearly one- third since its introduction in 1986. Nearly 40,000 students sat the exam last summer.