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Fund New School Qualification Properly Says Nats

Fund New School Qualification Properly Says National

The Government must address the underlying issue of today's teacher strike by properly funding implementation of the new school qualification, NCEA, says National's Education spokesperson, Nick Smith.

"The Government is trying to implement the new qualification on the cheap, and today's strike is further evidence that it is backfiring on students. Government priorities are all wrong when it has all the money in the world for fringe causes like Kiwibank and Maori TV, but insufficient to ensure our young people have a robust school qualification.

"How can schools possibly implement the National Certificate of Educational Achievement - the biggest change in school qualifications in 50 years - when teachers are on strike?

"It's a mess, and the responsibility for it lies firmly with the Education Minister. He has refused to properly resource the NCEA, and at the same time has dismissed repeated warnings about teacher shortages and school roll blowouts.

"Trevor Mallard described National's 1999 settlement of 7% over two years as 'mean and miserly' and he should not now be surprised that teachers will not settle for half that - i.e. 3.5% over two years.

"What's at risk here are the school qualifications of 50,000 students. It is not right that these students should pay such a high price because of the Government's refusal to acknowledge the increased workload of these new qualifications.

"National warned the Government last year of the risk of implementing NCEA during teacher strike action, but it wouldn't listen," says Dr Smith.

Ends

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