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Inquiry Into School Qual’s Debacle Needed

National Pushes Urgent Parliamentary Inquiry Into School Qual’s Debacle

Hon Nick Smith - National Education Spokesperson

The Education and Science Select Committee must this week initiate an urgent inquiry into the debacle over school qualifications for next year, says National’s Education Spokesperson Nick Smith.

“It is a fiasco that schools begin the last term tomorrow without knowing what qualification they will be doing next year. Having only one term left to prepare and plan for the biggest change in sixth form qualifications in twenty years is courting with disaster.

“The secondary teachers union, school trustees association and secondary principals association have all been highly critical of the Governments implementation of the new NCEA.

“The Minister proposition that schools do a mix of four different qualifications next year is a recipe for chaos. The achievement standards for Level 2 NCEA are not even ready yet and teachers have not yet received any professional development.

“The Transitional Sixth Form Certificate has already been discredited by the NZQA saying it lacks credibility. Unit Standards only apply to a limited range of subjects. The fourth option of doing a 2 year NCEA level 3 programme is a cop-out for students acquiring no qualification at all for their sixth form year of work.

“The Government has no appreciation of the chaos this dogs breakfast of qualifications will cause for students. A student with three subjects in sixth form certificate and two subjects NCEA Level 2 has two halves of nothing. It will be impossible for employers and tertiary institutions trying to make fair comparisons of competing students academic records and it is inevitable that this mess will result in injustices.

“There is so much uncertainty and confusion that Parliament’s Select Committee must demand urgent answers from the Minister, Ministry and the Qualifications Authority. We must get a better deal for next years 58,000 sixth form students,” says Dr Smith.

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