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Students Will Be Losers In Contract Row

Secondary schools are set to be the scene of a bitter industrial relations war - paralleling that recently faced by Canterbury nurses - and students will be the losers, says National Education spokesperson Nick Smith.

"Responsibility for the current mess surrounding the teachers' pay dispute lies firmly with the Minister of Education.

"Trevor Mallard has refused to properly resource the new National Certificate in Education Achievement, as well as arrogantly dismissing warnings about teacher shortages and roll increases. He now must accept responsibility and move quickly to resolve this latest debacle.

"Implementing the NCEA, the biggest change in school qualifications for half a century, in the middle of a bitter industrial fight is a recipe for disaster. If teachers move to stop implementation, students will be unprepared for both the new and old qualifications," Mr Smith added.

"What's at risk are the school qualifications of 50,000 students.

"It is time for the Minister to drop his arrogant tone, get back to negotiations and find a compromise. Schools cannot be subject to the age-old industrial techniques of threatened lock-outs and strikes when so much is at stake for so many students," Nick Smith concluded.


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