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NZQA sings from Labour's songsheet

Simon Power - National Party Associate Education Spokesman

2 February 2005

NZQA sings from Labour's songsheet

National's Associate Education spokesman, Simon Power, says Labour's handling of concerns about the political bias of the NZQA has been insulting and irresponsible.

He is referring to an NCEA Level 1 History question asking students to choose two of three people from whose perspective they were to write: two prominent Maori leaders - Dame Whina Cooper and Eva Rickard - and 'A National Party Member of Parliament not sympathetic to Maori concerns'

"This question asks the student to make assumptions based on an unfair political stereotype and I want to know what, in the curriculum, those assumptions will be based on," says Mr Power.

"Both the Minister and the NZQA have been cavalier in their dismissal of concerns of political interference. That's not good enough when the education of our young people are concerned.

"This isn't an isolated incident - an NCEA Economics exam question asked students to explain why free-market policies created inequality - another example of political slant.

"This is the second time in less than six months that the NZQA has taken a swipe at the National Party. They are behaving like a branch of the Labour Party."

In October the NZQA displayed a press release sharply critical of National's position on the NCEA on the opening page of its website. The press release was taken down after complaints about its partisan nature.

"It looks very much like the education of our children is based on petty political bias and I will not allow that to continue," says Mr Power.

"The NZQA should stop wasting time trying to discredit the National Party's concerns, and indeed the concerns of parents and employers, and get on with the job of fixing their deeply flawed system."

ENDS

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