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"Amnesia" shows Bill English cannot be trusted

20 March 2005

Select Committee "amnesia" shows Bill English cannot be trusted

Associate Education Minister David Benson-Pope has accused National education spokesman Bill English of selective amnesia when it comes to the NCEA.

In a release today Mr English claimed that with regard to the 2005 exams, only minor changes would be possible to the exam papers before they are sat by students. The implication being that the results of reviews the Government has underway into NCEA will have no effect on this year's students.

However, in response to a question Bill English asked on this very subject at Parliament's Education and Science Select Committee last week, evidence was given showing this not to be the case.

Mr English was given verbal evidence by the New Zealand Qualifications Authority that if changes were necessary to the 2005 exams they could be made at least as late as August, as has happened in the past.

In direct response to the question from Mr English: "So the '05 exams are unlikely to be affected by any discussion this Committee has about the question…", NZQA Schools General Manager Kate Colbert told Mr English that changes were possible right up until the time of printing in August, if required.

NZQA Chief Executive Karen Van Rooyen emphasised the point responding to Mr English by giving the following assurance to the Select Committee: "If we need to change [the exams] then we will change."

Mr Benson-Pope says current reviews into NCEA will feed improvements into the system for students studying this year. Mr Benson-Pope says Mr English continues to try and cause doubt and uncertainty around NCEA.

"This further case of selective amnesia really demonstrates that Mr English can not be trusted on this issue," said Mr Benson-Pope.

ENDS

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