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NCEA Fee Increase Will Devastate Opportunities

NCEA Fee Increase Will Devastate Opportunities for many Students

The government decision to dramatically increase the fees for students entering NCEA will severely damage the educational opportunities for many more students who come from poor families.

Already in its first year - last year - many students did not enter NCEA because their families could not afford the fees. In many other cases the school itself paid the fees for many students and are now trying to recoup this money from parents. In these cases the schools themselves have been left many thousands of dollars down.

With the dramatic fee increase many more will be penalised. Why should a student be penalised because their family cannot afford exam fees?

It's all very well for the Minister of Education to say that students from benefit dependent families pay only a modest amount. This leaves tens of thousands of other low income families out on a limb.

The struggle of low income families is simply not understood by a government keen to develop a "user pays" model for NCEA rather than pay through general taxation.

This is a deeply worrying trend.

In many schools parents now pay more than 10% of the day to day cost of their children's education.

The government says education is free and compulsory till age 16 but then the major educational qualification at the end of 11 years of free, compulsory education is unattainable to many students because their families cannot afford the fees.

We are writing to the Minister of Education Trevor Mallard urging that all NCEA fees be abolished. With this new exam system the opportunity is there for a fresh start in moving towards free education. NCEA would be a good place to start.

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