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SSC report valuable tool

6 May 2005

Minister: SSC report valuable tool for restoring public confidence

Changes to the New Zealand Scholarship recommended by a review carried out by the State Services Commissioner will go a long way to restoring public confidence in the examination system, says Associate Education Minister David Benson-Pope.

Mr Benson-Pope today welcomed the release of the first part of the Deputy State Service Commissioner’s Review into matters relating to the New Zealand Qualifications Authority (NZQA).

Mr Benson-Pope said the forward-looking report has provided extensive analysis around the 2004 Scholarship examinations and confirms recent changes made by the government to the Scholarship exams.

"The report has identified deficiencies in both the policy advice and implementation of Scholarship in 2004," said Mr Benson-Pope. "It also provides a series of sound recommendations for ensuring that there can be no repeat of the problems of 2004."

Mr Benson-Pope says the review’s recommendations provide guidance to both the Ministry of Education and NZQA for the 2005 exam cycle.

"Both agencies have to accept criticism around their failure to communicate risks and expectations, to government, to the education sector, and to the general public," he said. "The Ministry of Education needs to more pro-actively lead and coordinate the sector and keep its eye on the big picture."

However, Mr Benson-Pope says when you distill the series of concerns, criticisms and deficiencies identified in the report, it is clear that NZQA has to accept the lion's share of responsibility for the problems in 2004.

"The NZQA needs to strengthen its capability to implement the 2005 Scholarship by establishing a dedicated implementation team. NZQA has advised me that this is already being addressed. NZQA also needs to consult more readily and be more open to feedback from the sector.

"These recommendations will be acted upon," said Mr Benson-Pope. "Government and the public require confidence in the agencies conducting examinations. That confidence can only be restored by following the recommendations and making changes."

ENDS

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