Ancient History Alive and Well Down Under

… or again, Up Over … from the Sydney Morning Herald:

THE world of a young person increasingly consists of the right here and the right now but their studies tell a different story.

A record number of high school students sat the ancient history HSC exam yesterday, now one of the most popular subjects among year 12 students.

The study of the antiquated world from Spartan society to Julius Caesar and the ancient city of Pompeii is attracting more students than modern history, which takes in topics such as World War I, the Northern Ireland conflict and Trotsky.
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”We know so much about modern history events from everything around us. It’s nice to learn about something completely out of our zone,” said Nicholas Saady, a student at Marcellin College in Randwick, where ancient history has become one of the most successful subjects. ”It’s like a completely different world,” said another student, Jack Watts.

More than 12,000 students sat the ancient history exam yesterday, making it the eighth most popular subject for year 12. Meanwhile, modern history has continued to slide down the ranks after being eclipsed by its ancient counterpart in 2004.

”It’s a matter of what currently interests students, a bit like fashion,” said Catherine Harnack, a history teacher from John Paul College in Coffs Harbour. ”I think the modern course is great and it is just being overshadowed because the current fascination with the very ancient past not only in Europe but also now in the Americas in films.”

She said the modern course was more politically oriented while ancient history blended political and social history. There is a perception that ancient is easier too, said Toni Hurley, who has taught the subject for 30 years.

”It’s accessible to a greater range of students and has the advantage of archaeology, which kids seem to adore,” she said.

Just last week we were reading: Classical Languages Doing Well Down Under … they seem to be doing something right down there.

Circumundique ~ 10/27/11

I always feel like something is missing here for some reason: