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Labour bungles NCEA backdown

Hon Bill English - National Party Education Spokesman

2 March 2005

Labour bungles NCEA backdown

National's Education spokesman Bill English says Labour's inquiry into the NCEA looks set to be as reliable as the exam results it is investigating.

"The inquiry, which is yet to be officially announced, has no terms of reference, will be headed by a person with no experience in assessment and overseen by a Minister who, until yesterday, has continued to deny there is a problem."

Yesterday, David Benson-Pope publicly admitted that he had doubts about the NCEA results.

"After weeks of stonewalling, David Benson-Pope's change of heart and admission that there are problems has been followed by a bungled attempt to keep the inquiry low-key," says Mr English.

"The very existence of the inquiry, and information about it, had to be dragged out of this secretive Government during parliamentary questions.

"If Labour is serious about this inquiry, and about fixing the deep flaws within the NCEA, it must acknowledge what exactly is going on and what the terms of reference are. This continuing secrecy and a refusal to take the NCEA problems seriously is simply not good enough.

"Mr Benson-Pope and Mr Mallard have an obligation to the tens of thousands of students who sat NCEA to be absolutely clear about what their concerns are and which results may not be valid.

"Labour has once again demonstrated it is far more concerned about political embarrassment and dodging accountability than it is in getting to the bottom of this mess," say Mr English.

ENDS

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