Joanna Lumley labels British children's morals 'slack'
- 1 March 2011
- From the section Education & Family
Actress Joanna Lumley has claimed that British children are being brought up with "slack" morals.
The 64-year-old Absolutely Fabulous star said the younger generation needed to be given "hearty pursuits" like building camps or working on farms.
She also bemoaned a lack of respect for education in Britain and said children should be given more responsibilities.
Lumley made the comments in an interview with the Radio Times.
"We are very slack with our moral codes for children these days. Nowadays, children find it laughably amusing to shoplift and steal.
"We smile when they download information from the internet and lazily present it as their own work. We allow them to bunk off school and bring in sick notes," she said.
She also said: "There was one 'crime' during the whole time I was at school, when a fountain pen went missing. Stealing just didn't happen.
"I was taught not to shoplift, not to steal, not to behave badly. We weren't even allowed to drop litter."
She also recalled "quite small children take on huge responsibilities" while making programmes around the world.
She added: "In Ethiopia... you might find a seven-year-old expected to take 15 goats out into the fields for the whole day with only a chapati to eat and his whistle.
"Why are we so afraid to give our children responsibilities like this?
"I think laptops should be banned from schools. Until you can prove you can add up on your fingers or think independently in your head, you have learnt nothing," she added.
The actress, who is narrating Enid Blyton tale The Cheat on Radio 4, said: "I think we're leading our children into a false paradise. We're not teaching them how to apply themselves and be present, how to accomplish a job and finish it, how to learn other languages and actually achieve a trade.
"What are we doing with our education policies? Running from one side to the other, with no notion of where we are going."
The actress, who famously took on Gordon Brown's government to allow all Gurkhas the right to settle in the UK, added: "We have taken our foot off the education pedal, and I don't think it makes anyone happy. We don't respect education. Not at all. Not like in Africa or China, where it is hugely respected.
"I would like to see children involved in hearty-sounding pursuits, such as building a camp. Or getting an entire school to go and work in a farm, for a term, all together."