( AFP ) - A private British college is starting compulsory etiquette classes for 13- to 14-year-olds to sharpen up their comportment in a world of ill-mannered informality, a spokesman confirmed Wednesday.
Brighton College on the southern English coast will drill pupils on how to iron a shirt properly, dance the waltz, when to take off a jacket or go to the toilet, who to talk to during which courses at the dinner table and other finer points of etiquette.
Headmaster Richard Cairns decided it was time his pupils were taught a few lessons in good manners after learning that employers were dismayed by the numbers of undergraduates who were not equipped for the business world.
"In the past, they would have learned all of this at home," a spokesman for the fee-paying independent school told AFP.
Each Thursday, pupils will be invited to dine at Cairns' house, where they will be taught how to deal with food they do not like, how to use the right cutlery and how to talk to fellow guests, among other tips.
"Each student will receive a formal invitation to which he will have to respond in a written formal manner and not by email, text message or phone," the spokesman said.