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NCEA: Focus on standards and fairness, not PR

Hon Bill English
National Party Education Spokesman

4 July 2006

NCEA: Maharey should focus on standards and fairness, not PR

National Party Education spokesman Bill English says the Government should work on fixing NCEA’s lack of clear standards and unfairness for students rather than rolling out a public relations campaign to hide the weaknesses.

He is responding to the publication of a Ministry of Education-commissioned study into students’ attitudes towards NCEA which finds that students enjoy the qualification’s flexibility.

Education Minister Steve Maharey has lauded the findings as evidence that NCEA is working.

But Mr English says students like NCEA because they are smart enough to find ways through the qualification by accumulating easy credits.

“NCEA was designed to offer more options for students, and it’s hardly surprising that they enjoy that flexibility. But the credits are no use if they are achieved by dropping standards and unfair results for students.

“Standards will continue to drop as students take easy options and focus on gaining easy credits rather than overall learning outcomes.

“Mr Maharey’s PR plug is further proof that he cares more about his Government’s reputation than about fairness and standards in our secondary schools.

“It’s time that he and NZQA faced up to the fact that aspects of NCEA are fundamentally unfair and did something about fixing it, rather than trying to cover it up with another feel-good campaign that is more about politics than education,” says Mr English.


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