Ask 10-year-olds what they want to be when they grow up, and what do they say — a celebrity? A soccer player? These days “video game designer” is a more likely answer than “train driver,” but do children need to be told that they can’t be Superwoman or a soccer star?
Primary schools in the UK have started instructing pupils in how to write their CVs and telling them to think “realistically” about their career prospects.
Children as young as eight are being given lessons on “what employers look for,” while those aged 10 are being shown how to produce a curriculum vitae (CV) that highlights their computer skills.
The classes are led by consultants working for Hays recruitment agency and have taken place in 100 primary schools in England so far.
The agency says the curriculum it has drawn up for primary schools will raise aspirations, help children to value education and prepare them for the workplace. However, critics say it strips youngsters of their childhood by telling them it is unrealistic to want to be a spaceman or Superwoman, and could cause unnecessary stress.
As part of the curriculum, children aged 10 write a CV listing the talents and characteristics they possess that are useful in the workplace. This includes their Excel and PowerPoint skills, punctuality record, interests and any certificates they have for music, sport or academic success. They take this with them to secondary school.
At ages eight and nine, they are asked to “realistically” consider which careers they are interested in, and are taught that employers value conscientious workers, team players and employees who are good at problem-solving.
Those who express an interest in careers that will require a degree are told that they will need to do well at school and go on to higher education. Those who suggest careers such as Superman are advised to rethink their plans.
The consultants are targeting schools in poor neighborhoods to break barriers to social mobility.
Sarah Rudd, headteacher of Newall Green primary school in Wythenshawe, Manchester — a neighborhood with high unemployment — says the consultants helped her pupils to aim high.
“Aspirations for some people in our area are low and there aren’t role models for them,” she said. “Around here it is all gangs, drugs and stuff you don’t want them to get involved in. This is about planting seeds early on that make children want to carry on in education and take up all the opportunities offered to them. By talking to them about their careers, they understand that they will have to go to university to get some of the jobs they want.”
Jenny Ward, who wrote the curriculum for Hays and teaches it in schools, said: “We show the children that they already have skills needed in jobs. I don’t think it is ever too early to talk to children about careers. We explain that how hard they try and the results they get will make a difference to the kind of car they will drive and the holidays they will have.”
However, Nick Seaton, chairman of the Campaign for Real Education, said: “This is much too young for children to be thinking about their future careers ... It also sounds cruel to tell them to think realistically about their careers. At their age, the world should be their oyster.”
In October, research from the education charity the Sutton Trust showed that only 55 percent of 15 and 16-year-olds in the UK received formal career advice last year, compared with 85 percent in 1997.
The UK’s schools secretary, Ed Balls, said: “We know it is often too late for children to start thinking about this at 14, when they are influenced from when they are seven, eight and nine.”
An Australian university student who has never visited China and has only a modest social media following would seem an unlikely target for the Chinese government. However, when a Chinese Ministry of Foreign Affairs spokesman personally denounced Drew Pavlou at a news conference, it was just the next phase in an extraordinary campaign against the 21-year-old that has fueled concerns over China’s targeting of critics overseas. Pavlou first placed himself in the superpower’s sights when in July last year he organized a small sit-in at the University of Queensland, where he studies, to protest against various Chinese government policies. Since then, the Global
‘ASKED TO MOVE OUT’: Indonesian coast guard personnel argued with a Chinese vessel over territorial claims after it entered the country’s exclusive economic zone An Indonesian patrol ship confronted a Chinese coast guard vessel that spent almost three days in waters where Indonesia claims economic rights and that are near the southernmost part of China’s disputed claims to the South China Sea. The Indonesian Maritime Security Agency on Friday night detected Chinese ship 5204 entering Indonesia’s exclusive economic zone (EEZ) in what Indonesia calls the North Natuna Sea. The agency sent a patrol ship that closed within 1km of the Chinese coast guard vessel and they communicated to affirm their position and their nation’s claims to the area, Indonesian Maritime Security Agency head Aan Kurnia said. “We
BEFORE WINTER COMES: Snow cuts off roads into Ladakh for four months or more each year, so the crunch is on to get food, tents and high-altitude equipment to Leh From deploying mules to large transport aircraft, the Indian military has activated its entire logistics network to transport supplies to thousands of troops for a harsh winter along a bitterly disputed Himalayan border with China. In the past few months, one of India’s biggest military logistics exercises in years has brought vast quantities of ammunition, equipment, fuel, winter supplies and food into Ladakh, a region bordering Tibet that India administers as a union territory, officials said. The move was triggered by a border standoff with China in the snow deserts of Ladakh that began in May and escalated in June into hand-to-hand
Since her personal telephone number was posted online, Hong Kong democracy advocate and Hong Kong Confederation of Trade Unions chairperson Carol Ng has received menacing calls from strangers and been bombarded with messages calling her a “cockroach.” She is not alone. A sophisticated and shady Web site called HK Leaks has ramped up its “doxxing” — where people’s personal details are published online — of Hong Kong democracy advocates, targeting those it says have broken Hong Kong’s National Security Law. Promoted by groups linked to the Chinese Chinese Communist Party and hosted on Russia-based servers, HK Leaks has become the most prominent “doxxing”