Agribusiness a hit in secondary schools
St Paul’s Collegiate in Hamilton has pioneered a new secondary school qualification in agribusiness, which hundreds of students around the country are now sitting.
The school has been recognised by being made a finalist at the 2018 Prime Minister’s Education Excellence Awards, in the Excellence in Leading/Atakura category.
Deputy headmaster Peter Hampton said the course can be sat at NCEA Level 2 and 3, and can grant students university entrance to study agribusiness.
‘‘What we did was we got the support of 11 business partners from the agribusiness sector,’’ Hampton said. ‘‘Their financial support enabled us to take the lead in developing the new curriculum.’’
A total of 10 other schools around the country joined what St Paul’s called its agribusiness community of learning.
They helped trial and tune the new curriculum so it could be taken to the Ministry of Education and New Zealand Qualifications Authority for approval. That process took four and a half years all up, but Hampton is excited at what the agribusiness programme is providing to students now that the course is in place.
‘‘The reason we’re doing it is there’s 45,000 jobs out there in New Zealand in the next 10 years for students who’ve got degrees in agribusiness,’’ Hampton said.
NCEA agribusiness entails a combination of science, technology, horticulture and business, meaning it does not lead to the low-skilled jobs on farms that some people tend to associate with agriculture and horticulture.
Hampton wanted to dispel that myth in the nationwide promotion of the course. ‘‘What we’re doing is a new course in agribusiness which is designed for really bright, capable, academic students who will go on to university,’’ he said.
A total of 39 new Zealand schools were teaching agribusiness, including St Peter’s College in Cambridge while Cambridge High School would make the course available for its students next year. Students of the course can specialise in forestry, fisheries, equine, turf culture, agriculture or horticulture.
Agribusiness sector is after graduates the length and breadth of the country, says St Paul’s Collegiate Hamilton deputy headmaster Peter Hampton.