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English: It's time to listen to parents

Hon Bill English National Party Education Spokesman

21 December 2004

English: It's time to listen to parents

National's Education spokesman, Bill English, says it's time the Government and the NZQA listened to the concerns of parents and employers about the NCEA.

"The purpose of qualifications is to prepare students for success in the real world. This means that what the public thinks matters far more than what bureaucrats and the Minister think."

Mr English is commenting after the release today of a report by the NZQA into attitudes towards, and concerns about, the new national qualifications system.

The report finds that: - The public is less positive about the qualification this year than last. - The NCEA is expected to be less challenging that the former system and will lower standards. - Only one fifth of employers and less than a quarter of the public feel positive about the NCEA.

"The worst result of the survey is that employers and parents are losing faith in the standards of the NCEA, and will therefore rate the quality of qualification according to the school attended by the student," says Mr English.

"Concerns about quality and fairness are clearly valid when the Government cannot guarantee that one student's results at one school will mean the same at another school.

"If the 2004 results show the same random variation between year groups as the 2003 results, even supporters of the system will have to ask if the NCEA is doing our young people justice.

"Because education is essential for lifting the prospects of every young New Zealander, National believes standards have to be consistent, fair and high," says Mr English.

ENDS

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