A professor in Perth’s north has urged students to avoid “junk” books, citing the need to “focus on the important things”.
Dr Paul Fenton is a lecturer in education at the University of Technology, Perth.
He told ABC Radio Perth students should not be expected to “think of the important stuff”.
“You need to be able to identify the books that you can get and actually go and get them and get the book you really want,” Dr Fenton said.
“There’s not much of a selection here, because it’s all very cheap, all very good, but you can’t really afford to buy everything that’s out there.
In the same way, I think that we’re very conscious of what’s really important, and I think what people do is really important.”
Dr Fenton says the book selection process should be driven by “what students need to know”.
Students should be encouraged to “do the research” and get “the books that they really want”, he said.
The University of Perth has been ranked the worst place in Australia to study for young people, according to the latest ABS data, which was released this week.
The national index, released by the Department of Education last month, ranked the University as one of the most disadvantaged schools in Australia.
Dr Andrew Smith, the chief executive of the National Union of Students, says the national ranking is an “astonishingly low bar”.
“It’s an appalling state of affairs and is absolutely disgraceful,” he said in a statement.
There are some things students should be able, and should be taught to do, he said, “such as research and the kind of books that students are actually able to read, rather than just books that are easy to pick up and read.”
The report by the National Council of Secondary Education, which includes the Australian Education Union, also said the nation’s schools were failing to provide a “critical mass of books in students’ libraries”.
“This has a profound impact on learning, academic achievement, and quality of life,” it said.
Dr Smith said it was “disheartening” to see so many of the top universities in Australia failing to offer a “good reading environment”.
He said students had to work to find books, but “they don’t have much incentive to do it”.
The Union also noted the “unbelievably low” number of books available to students, and urged them to “consider the impact on libraries”.
A number of universities, including Melbourne University and the University at Adelaide, have released “safe” reading lists to encourage students to read without risk of reading illness.