It’s a spicy delight famed the world over and now curry is officially on the curriculum, as lessons featuring the Birmingham Balti will be taught in schools throughout the city this September.
The move aims to ensure the art of the Balti is passed onto a new generation as well as helping to serve up better employment prospects for pupils.
The special lesson plan forms part of the new Birmingham Baccalaureate, an award devised to equip school leavers with the real-world skills employers say they’ll need to flourish in the world of work. The lesson was developed by a group of teachers from 10 schools in conjunction with the Birmingham Balti Association and Zafar Hussain from Shabab curry house, which sits in the city’s legendary Balti Triangle.
Andy Munro, chairman of the Birmingham Balti Association, said: “The Balti is something Birmingham is very famous for. When it came about almost 30 years ago, nobody realised this one-pot cooking method would become so iconic. It was the first bit of fusion cooking over here, a new take on the traditional curry introduced by a Pakistani restaurateur on the Ladypool Road.
“The Birmingham Baccalaureate will show students how to make the dish, helping to continue the Balti’s legacy through to the next generation. It’s important that schools teach a wide range of skills and, more specifically, skills that will guarantee youngsters jobs in their home city.”
The move was welcomed by Birmingham MP Gisela Stuart, who said: “We are the fastest growing young city in Europe and, in contrast to the national and regional picture, have more children than pensioners. Unfortunately, we also have an unadjusted youth unemployment rate of 23% - the highest in the country.
Jane Harris, programme director for the Birmingham Baccalaureate, said: “We already have 10 schools on board and many others have shown support for the award. Putting curry on the curriculum is just the tip of the iceberg, we want school leavers to have a deeper understanding of their city and what employers in the region need.
“The award will be rolled out on a wider scale in 2014 and we’re confident that it will give young people born in Birmingham the skills to get the jobs available here in Birmingham right now and in the future.”
The Birmingham Baccalaureate (BBacc) will be delivered by Skills for Birmingham in partnership with Birmingham City Council. The award was developed in association with 50 local employers, chosen from the Greater Birmingham & Solihull LEP’s key employment sectors of digital, engineering, life sciences, food and hospitality. More detail can be found in Skills for Birmingham’s report, Young, Skilled & Ready: Educating an employable generation for Birmingham.