KeepHealthCare.ORG – Girls’ college backlash over baking and childcare courses
Last updated 05:00, June 24 2018
Marlborough Girls’ College head girl Stacey Williams, left, and head of student council Eve Goodall-Cromarty, believe subject selection has evolved.
A girls’ college has come under fire for promoting baking and childcare as career options for its students.
A pupil from Marlborough Girls’ College, in Blenheim, is accusing it of taking a “step back in time to the 1950s” after baking, early childhood education and catering were highlighted in a careers information publication used to promote its careers expo this week.
“We offer a number of ‘hands on’ industry-based courses, including baking, early childhood education, hospitality and catering, outdoor education and tourism,” the brochure reads.
A student, who asked not to be named, is “disappointed” to see the subjects prominently displayed.
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She says it gives the impression students were limited to subjects which led to professions once considered the domain of women.
“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?
Food technology classes are offered at Marlborough Girl’s College alongside a range of other elective choices.
“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 and says it offers a “very broad and wide curriculum”.
Students are given the chance to choose four core subjects from arts, languages and technology.
“It was interesting feedback to know that it [the Bulletin] 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 school-wide 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.”
Marlborough Girls’ College principal Mary-Jeanne Lynch believes the school offers a wide range of courses.
Electives at Marlborough Boys’ College for year nine students feature drama, digital technology, art, design and graphics, food technology, generic technology and music.
Figures from Education Counts shows subjects phased out since the 1990s include metal work, secretarial skills, shorthand and woodwork.
Potential employees from across Marlborough took part in the careers information expo on Thursday.
From funeral directors and nurses to design engineers and plant and food researchers, representatives from a cross-section of businesses attended.
Marlborough Girls’ College has defended its elective choices and staff have emphasised its wide-ranging curriculum.
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 old-fashioned but they’re still relevant. They’ve just been updated.”
Senior draughtsperson Sonia Manson from Smart Alliances in Blenheim was at the expo and says girls are stepping outside of “traditional classes”.
“Eighteen years ago when I studied at Otago there were very few girls studying but now it’s more like a 50:50 split,” she says.
The Ministry of Education’s Ellen MacGregor-Reid, deputy secretary early learning and student achievement, 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 non-discriminatory. 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.”
Senior draughtsperson Sonia Manson determind her career path after she took technical drawing as a subject while at college.
A student at Marlborough Girls’ College is not happy classes such as childcare and baking are among elective choices for girls.
– Sunday Star Times