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