For immediate release
The New Zealand Community Trust has just established 200 scholarships to enable secondary school students to study astronomy online and gain NCEA credits.
The scheme has been established in partnership with the Carter Observatory, New Zealand's National Observatory, and was an investment of $50,000 for the Trust.
Observatory spokesperson Robert Shaw said the Trust was investing in science and technology promotion which was vital for the future of New Zealand.
"The astronomy courses are designed to encourage students to study further and ultimately to pursue careers in science and technology" Mr Shaw said.
The courses teach and assess the new unit standards established by the New Zealand Qualifications Authority earlier this year.
These unit standards are only available through the online course offered by the Carter Observatory.
Every school in the country will be able to participate in the scheme.
"We will try to be even handed in the distribution and hope to work in close partnership with the secondary schools", Mr Shaw said.
The Community Trust has asked the Carter to give priority to students who will benefit from further NCEA credits and who might not have an opportunity to extend themselves because of financial constraints.
Secondary school principals will nominate students for the course and the selection will be done by the Carter Observatory. There is no closing date, initially it will be first-come-first served with the intention of having students from across New Zealand.
Students who wish to gain NCEA credits for astronomy should ask their science teacher about the new scheme or go online to www.carterobservatory.net.