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"Students Need Certainty" Say Independent Schools

Wed, 4 Sep 2002

"Students Need Certainty" Say Independent Schools

"Independent schools who have made the decision to stick with Level 2 NCEA for next year's Year 12 students are doing so because they believe their students deserve certainty," said Joy Quigley, Executive Director, Independent Schools of New Zealand.

Other independent schools who are offering alternate exam systems have introduced those options for the same reason.

The principals and senior managers of the 43 schools belonging to ISNZ will be meeting in Christchurch next week and the implementation of NCEA will again be discussed as a matter of priority. There is a diversity of opinion amongst independent schools about the current format of NCEA, but all are committed to ensuring the best outcomes for their students. As a general principle though, they all believe that New Zealand should, as a world leader in education, be able to examine and assess its own students with an internationally respected New Zealand qualification.

NCEA is not regarded as perfect in its current format but it can, in the words of one independent school principal "be panel beaten into shape" with enough leadership and direction from the top. That is seriously needed right now and we welcome the forthcoming announcement from Education Minister, Hon Trevor Mallard on the introduction of Level Two. As the person who ultimately leads education in this country it is imperative that he is seen to be doing so. Meanwhile many independent schools have taken the initiative to introduce Level Two next year because once the decision was made to go with Level One they believed that it was only fair to these students that they have certainty.

It is highly likely that either Level One or Level Two will be optional in schools in due course, depending on the goals of the student, but it is essential that Level Three has a high degree of scholarship for the very able student. If necessary the current scholarship and bursary examinations should be kept in place in 2004 to ensure a credible outcome for this year's Year 11 students. Above all, these students should not be in any way penalised because they unwittingly became the triallists for the new system. All teachers and administrators will be very mindful of that when they make their personal decisions about the implementation of Level Two in 2003, and when they give their responses to Trevor Mallard as he undergoes his current round of consultation with education sector groups on this issue.

Joy Quigley Executive Director Independent Schools of New Zealand Tel. 04 471 2022 Fax. 04 472 4635


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