THE drop in the number of young people choosing agriculture as a subject at school is cause for concern, member for Calare John Cobb says.
Mr Cobb said because agriculture is not sufficiently weighted to give students enough marks towards their potential university entrance score the subject is not attracting the number of students it has in the past.
“I don’t like to think that the subject is being considered as one that is only for ‘dummies because that is simply not the case,” Mr Cobb said.
“The powers that be need to take a serious look at the way the agriculture subject is scored for students who are in years 11 and 12 and studying for their Higher School Certificate,” he said.
“These young people simply can’t get the marks they need if they want to go on to tertiary study.”
“We desperately need agricultural scientists with the development of gene technology and indeed in the fields of food technology development,” he said.
Mr Cobb said he hopes the drop in numbers in schools across the state will not transfer to places like Charles Sturt University Orange campus, which was originally Orange Agricultural College, with a phasing out of agricultural studies altogether.
“We have already seen what has happened in Western Sydney with Hawkesbury [agricultural college] and it is very unfortunate,” he said.
“There are plenty of great opportunities out there for young people who want to pursue a career in agriculture and not having the grounding at school in those subjects can have a big impact on career choices for many,” Mr Cobb said.
He said the subject of agriculture doesn’t score well compared to other science-based subjects such as biology, chemistry or physics which accounts for the latest figures of 1451 students completing agriculture as part of the HSC compared to 16,000 in biology.