Students must do hard stuff - academic

By Jacqueline Smith

New Zealand should stop encouraging school and tertiary students to do what they enjoy and push them to do "the hard stuff", a Massey University academic says.

Jacqueline Rowarth, the director of agriculture at Massey University and a commentator on education, said she was concerned New Zealand was sending damaging signals to its youth by allowing scores of students into courses that did not correspond to an abundance of jobs.

She said it was "fantastic" that rapping subjects and DJ qualifications gave students a sense of achievement, but they should remain co-curricular interests.

She pointed to the low percentage of arts students who found work in their field of study. Of New Zealand's 210 music graduates in 2006, just a handful found work as professional musicians and many of the others were telephone operators, clerical assistants or receptionists, according to a survey on the Vice-Chancellors' Committee website.

In order to move forward economically the Government should be encouraging students into fields that would develop the human resources the nation needed for the future - in science and agriculture, for example.

Parents also needed to stop encouraging their children to do just what made them happy and realise that doing "the hard stuff" kept their options open and would benefit them long-term.

- NZ Herald

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