Young people who take the easy options at school limit their options later.
This was one of the messages from Professor Jacqueline Rowarth, who was speaking on Generations for the future – helping them help themselves.
She said some young people were working up to 32 hours a week after school and things like sport and drama which used to be after school activities were now part of the school curriculum.
“This is eroding academic credibility, ” she said.
It is also holding New Zealand back with too few people studying agriculture, engineering and sciences and too many studying business, media studies and communications.
“We need more people sticking with the hard stuff.”
That included maths, science and English, which provided a foundation for learning.
Young people had a lot more choices than their parents had but are less resilient.
Professor Rowarth said many young people who got to university were ill prepared for the discipline needed for tertiary education. They had poor motivation, poor time management and were reluctant to take responsibility.
One of their characteristics was SEP – someone else’s problem.
When they get to university or their first real job they face a quarter life crisis because they don’t have the foundations for resilience – patience, personal responsibility and realistic expectations of normality.
They lack real life role models and their expectations are based on what they see on television.
To build resilience parents should use intelligent neglect – letting the kids stuff up. We should encourage accuracy and attention to detail – which is fostered by rote learning; reward persistence and restore after school activities.
Professor Rowarth is Director of Agriculture at Massey University and is the inaugural Federated Farmers’ agricultural personality of the year. She was speaking at a combiend Federated farmers and Rotary meeting in Oamaru last night.