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Gerry's First Big Blunder

12 February 2000

Education Minister Trevor Mallard said National's new education spokesperson was proving he doesn't do his homework and is ignorant of the facts on the National Certificate of Educational Achievement.

Trevor Mallard said that by announcing that they were abandoning the NCEA, National was rejecting a proposal developed under the party's last three Education Ministers.

"It is also incredibly unfair on students and their families. There's been a cloud of uncertainty over the senior secondary school qualification system for years now. National is telling students and schools that if they have their way, that uncertainty will continue.

"What is most ridiculous about their new stance, is that this is fundamentally National's system.

"Lockwood Smith started it, Wyatt Creech advanced the work, and Nick Smith continued with the same plan – albeit forgetting to allow for any professional development so that schools could successfully implement it.

"The major change I have made in regard to the NCEA is fund moderation and training, and delay its implementation for a year to allow the time for that training to take place.

"While I realise that Gerry Brownlee has only just joined the front bench, he should have learnt that getting the facts right is an important part of the job.

"Fact number one, external examinations are still a big component of the NCEA – more than half. There will be a new set of external examinations at year 12 (6th form).

"Fact number two, marks will be reported.

"Fact number three, student records will make clear what has been assessed internally and by external exam.

"Overall, the final form of NCEA is what was proposed under National. I have not made changes to the guts of the system.

"The National Party has been desperately talking up Mr Brownlee's promotion - as a strong opposition to me. But if this is all he is offering, I can’t say I am worried about the challenge.

"I look forward to going head to head with Mr Brownlee on this issue. Having the facts to support me gives me a huge head start," Trevor Mallard.


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