Movie rewards for Bendigo college students

Students achieving "exceptional results" at Catholic College Bendigo's La Valla campus are receiving awards including movie tickets but the Sandhurst diocese education office says the system could breach student marketing guidelines.

The Bendigo Advertiser reports that students at the school are being rewarded for meeting basic student requirements.

As part of a merit system implemented this year, students can earn points for `doing the right thing'; the points can be cashed in at semester's end for vouchers or day trips.

Campus senior leader Adrian Drane said students could earn points for acts as simple as wearing the correct uniform, submitting homework or assisting a fellow student in the schoolyard.

But director of Catholic education in Bendigo, Dennis Higgins, said the merit system could breach student marketing guidelines.

Mr Higgins was not aware the system was in place when contacted by The Advertiser.

Mr Higgins said companies such as McDonald's, whose target market was children, cannot promote their product within Catholic schools - and such products should not be associated with good behaviour.

"The principle at stake is attaching good behaviour to goods or credits to see a movie, which opens a students up to marketing," he said.

"This will become an issue if students are being targeted by businesses and used as a marketing tool."

He also questioned the philosophy behind rewarding behaviour that could be considered normal, but said he would have to investigate the issue fully before making definitive comment.

But Mr Drane said schools often highlighted the negative behaviour of students, but lacked positive reinforcement skills.

"We want to reward students when they do the right thing, which is 99 per cent of the time," he said. "Part of our policy is that students cannot ask for, or expect merit points; they can only be distributed when a teacher notices the behaviour without a student bringing it to their attention."

Mr Drane said the school distributed about 130 vouchers to students each semester.

CCB incentives disputed (Bendigo Advertiser, 30/6/07)

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Catholic College Bendigo

2 Jul 2007