Record turn-out at national literature festival for schools

Despite fewer students taking literature as a subject, the National Schools Literature Festival bucks the trend with a record turnout this year. Over 80 schools and 1,500 teachers and students took part, compared to 30 schools when it first started in 2005.

The annual teacher-run event was held at Dunman High School this year. There were poetry slams and debates on unseen literature texts, as well as 'book parades' from participants showcasing literature projects that aims to pique the secondary school students' interest in the texts on display.

Earlier in February, it was revealed that only about 3,000 students took the subject last year, versus 16,970 in 1992. It sparked a discussion on the value of literature and how to reignite interest in the subject.

Said Queenstown Secondary School student Ernie Martha, 16, who took part in the set text debate: "During my research, it opened my eyes to the many themes and the complexity that can be found in one text. It's the first time that I realised that literature can be this fun."