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Relevant, Reliable School Qualifications

16 May 2002

Rewarding Success With Relevant, Reliable School Qualifications

A robust system of school qualifications is needed to raise the educational standards that every young New Zealander deserves, says National Party Leader Bill English.

"Today we are announcing our School Qualifications Policy, recognising that students will achieve their very best in an environment where success is properly acknowledged and rewarded.

"The current rewards for Bursary exam success are a joke and need revising. The recent Government exam fees hike means that a student now pays $185 to sit, yet receives only $100 for a B Bursary and $200 for an A Bursary.

"This is no incentive. We want to encourage excellence so we intend to increase the value of the Bursary qualification for this, and future years' candidates, with a payment of $2000 for an A Bursary and $1000 for a B Bursary.

"National's reform of school qualifications in the 1990's has been seriously undermined by the Government. The NCEA is in trouble, with doubt existing that students doing Level 1 at Year 11 (5th Form) will even get a qualification this year.

"National believes NCEA can work if modified and properly resourced. A National Government will review the new qualification to ensure it increases the use of external examinations, reports achievement standards with percentage marks, records both students' success and failure, and addresses teacher workloads.

"National will only proceed with implementing NCEA to Level 2, Year 12 in 2003 if the NZQA has successfully implemented Level 1 and the secondary teachers' collective employment contract has been settled. Similarly, the NCEA at Year 13 will only proceed with the confidence and full support of everyone involved.

"Our school qualifications system must be relevant and reliable. Employers, tertiary institutions, parents and students expect it, and National will deliver it," says Mr English.

Ends

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