22nd July 2002
Support For NCEA Long Overdue
Initiatives to support the NCEA, announced by the Ministry of Education today, are sensible but should have been in place at the latest at the start of this year, says PPTA president Jen McCutcheon.
"But, better late than never, to have a concession from the Government that there are problems with NCEA implementation. Teachers have been crying out for help over the last year; the workload implications for students and teachers are massive. Up until now those cries seemed to be falling on deaf ears. We're dealing with young people's life chances here and our students deserve much better."
She said the report lent weight to PPTA's call for deferral of implementation of the next level of the NCEA. A ballot of secondary teachers last month showed that 57% of teachers wanted the implementation of Level 2 deferred until 2004. Only around 23% thought it should be introduced next year.
Mrs McCutcheon said the timing of today's report would not escape teachers, students or parents. "The Minister and everyone else concerned has been aware of the problems for a long time, yet just days before the country's general election, an urgent report is called for and something is seen to be happening. I really wonder how that makes students and their parents feel."
Mrs McCutcheon said the report made much of the professionalism of teachers, and the fact that it was being relied on so heavily with the onset of the NCEA. "It's all very well to call us professionals and expect us to behave like professionals but the concept of paying us professional salaries seems to be extremely difficult for the Government to accept.
"Attempting to bring in this brand new system - the biggest change to secondary education in 50 years - while under-valuing the very people you are relying on to deliver it, has proven to be a recipe for disaster."