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Statement by Education Minister on scholarship

Statement by Education Minister on scholarship

Education Minister Trevor Mallard today made the following comments in respect of the scholarship issue, and timing of advice given to him on the variability in results across subjects:

"On 14 January my office requested information and was sent provisional scholarship results data, which focused on the overall number of awards. It did not provide a subject breakdown.

"My office was sent an email (attached here) on January 17 with a table of the results attached.

"It was not accompanied by any advice, analysis or warning.

"On 25 January Cabinet agreed to increase the number of scholarship awards because the number of those qualifying for awards was lower than expected.

"On the evening of January 25 I was shown the table that reveals the variability between subjects for the first time.

"On January 26 I met with officials to discuss the variability and I asked them to go away and do some more analysis to explain what had occurred.

"That analysis led to further Cabinet decisions on February 7 and the announcement that a further group of students would receive awards, to be known as distinction awards.

"I then went ahead with the announcement which Cabinet had signed off the previous day in order to provide reassurance to a group of students who had done exceptionally well, that their achievements were recognised financially and that there was no attempt on my part to divert money allocated for the support of our top scholars to other areas of the education system."

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