Back­lash at dated ca­reers

Girls col­lege blamed for head­ing back to the 50s af­ter jobs expo pushes ‘sewing or cook­ing’. By Paula Hu­bert.

Sunday News - - FRONT PAGE -

A girls’ col­lege has come un­der fire for pro­mot­ing bak­ing and child­care as ca­reer op­tions.

A pupil is ac­cus­ing Marl­bor­ough Girls’ Col­lege, in Blen­heim, of tak­ing a ‘‘step back to the 1950s’’ af­ter bak­ing, early child­hood ed­u­ca­tion and cater­ing were high­lighted in a ca­reers in­for­ma­tion pub­li­ca­tion used to pro­mote its ca­reers expo.

The stu­dent, who asked not to be named, is ‘‘dis­ap­pointed’’ to see the sub­jects promi­nently dis­played in the leaflet, which reads: ‘‘We of­fer a num­ber of ‘hands on’ in­dus­try-based cour­ses, in­clud­ing bak­ing, early child­hood ed­u­ca­tion, hos­pi­tal­ity and cater­ing, out­door ed­u­ca­tion and tourism.’’

‘‘The more I thought about it the an­grier I got. I can’t see these sub­jects be­ing of­fered at the boys’ col­lege,’’ she says.

‘‘It seems hyp­o­crit­i­cal to al­ways push us to be our best and then of­fer cour­ses like this? Why is there no men­tion of other elec­tives such as engi­neer­ing or com­puter-based op­tions?

‘‘I would like to see more cour­ses where you are pushed to use your brain more rather than sewing or cook­ing. There should be op­tions for every­one.’’

Marl­bor­ough Girls’ Col­lege prin­ci­pal Mary-Jeanne Lynch de­fended the col­lege’s ‘‘very broad and wide cur­ricu­lum’’, say­ing stu­dents chose four core sub­jects from arts, lan­guages and tech­nol­ogy.

‘‘It was in­ter­est­ing feed­back to know that it was per­ceived this way. We pro­vide a range of cour­ses and op­por­tu­ni­ties to meet the dif­fer­ent needs of all our stu­dents,’’ she says.

Lynch says the ca­reers pub­li­ca­tion was part of a school­wide ethos to pro­vide ‘‘op­por­tu­nity aware­ness’’.

‘‘In par­tic­u­lar, we pro­vide cour­ses that of­fer path­ways to fur­ther train­ing. For ex­am­ple in hos­pi­tal­ity and cater­ing, we have a strong re­la­tion­ship with NMIT and a num­ber of stu­dents con­tinue on to do their cour­ses.’’

Thurs­day’s ca­reers in­for­ma­tion expo in­cluded funeral di­rec­tors, nurses, de­sign en­gi­neers and plant and food re­searchers.

Head of stu­dent coun­cil Eve Goodall-Cro­marty says hav­ing a wide range of sub­ject choices was im­por­tant.

‘‘Sub­ject choices de­pend on pas­sion and what it is you want to do. The sub­jects are a bit more mod­ern now, for ex­am­ple, sewing is now fash­ion. These skills may sound old­fash­ioned but they’re still rel­e­vant. They’ve just been up­dated.’’ The Min­istry of Ed­u­ca­tion’s Ellen MacGre­gor-Reid says the New Zealand cur­ricu­lum sets out ‘‘a clear di­rec­tion for stu­dents’ learn­ing based on key prin­ci­ples.’’

‘‘Learn­ing must be non-sex­ist, non-racist, and nondis­crim­i­na­tory. This en­sures that stu­dents’ iden­ti­ties, lan­guages, abil­i­ties, and tal­ents are recog­nised and af­firmed, and that their learn­ing needs are ad­dressed.

‘‘Most schools pro­mote their cour­ses in cur­ricu­lum out­line doc­u­ments so that stu­dents can make in­formed choices about their learn­ing path­ways – it is im­por­tant that there are good qual­ity op­tions for all learn­ers, in­clud­ing those in­ter­ested in spe­cific ca­reers like early learn­ing or food prepa­ra­tion.

‘‘Par­ents or care­givers can pro­vide feed­back to their lo­cal school on the cur­ricu­lum and should ap­proach their school if they have con­cerns.’’

‘ These skills may sound old-fash­ioned but they’re still rel­e­vant.’ EVE GOODALL-CRO­MARTY

Marl­bor­ough Girls’ Col­lege head girl Stacey Wil­liams, left, and head of stu­dent coun­cil Eve Goodal­lCro­marty.

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