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Exam fee hike an outrage

Exam fee hike an outrage

"Raising school exam fees by 81% from $83 to $150 will hit family budgets hard and breaks the commitment given by Government that the NCEA will not increase the cost to families," says National's Education spokesperson Nick Smith.

"$150 is a big hit on family budgets particularly if more than one student in a family is sitting the exam. It is effectively a compulsory school fee for all three years of senior secondary school. This is such a large increase that it is an education tax that will hit the lowest income earners the hardest.

"Parents were told by Ministers and Ministry officials that the change from school certificate, sixth form certificate and bursary to the NCEA would not involve any increased cost to parents. This huge increase breaks the Governments word and only increases the cynicism of the public towards the political process.

"The timing and manner of this announcement is in Mr Mallard's classic sneaky style, being released late on a Friday to avoid all the main media and in the year after an election in which he knew of the cost but did not mention it to voters. It makes a hypocrite of the Minister who has slammed schools for charging fees, saying it compromises a free public education system when he is more than happy to slap on a fee for the Government.

"The greatest rip off will be for 7th form students who will now have to pay $150 to sit an exam in which if they get the equivalent of an A Bursary they will get $200 and a "B" Bursary $100. The Bursary payments have not been increased for 27 years. If it is good enough for the Government to increase the charges for students, so too should the rewards for succeeding be increased.

"The NCEA is being cynically used by the Government as an excuse to tax parents and the losers will be students whose parents cannot foot the bill," said Dr Smith.

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