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Proposed UE changes cheapen tourism industry

Proposed UE changes cheapen valuable tourism industry

Proposed changes to school University Entrance requirements could have serious implications for the multi-million dollar tourism and hospitality sectors, say industry leaders.

The New Zealand Qualifications Authority is currently consulting with stakeholders on changes to UE requirements. The proposal as it currently stands will create an ‘approved subject’ list linked to the school curriculum, which by default would exclude tourism as a University Entrance subject, says Tourism Industry Association New Zealand Chief Executive Tim Cossar.

“By implication, the NZQA proposal is suggesting that tourism shouldn’t be a subject of choice for more able students. This will send a very clear message to schools and teachers that tourism is a subject for less capable students and that tourism is an industry that can only provide limited career options.

“Given that the tourism and hospitality sectors support one in ten jobs in New Zealand and that tourism is the country’s top export earner, the NZQA approach is alarming.”

Mr Cossar says TIA, the Hospitality Association of New Zealand (HANZ) and the Aviation, Tourism and Travel Training Organisation (ATTTO) do not support the use of an approved subject list for the purpose of UE. The three organisations have expressed their concerns to both Prime Minister & Tourism Minister John Key, and NZQA.

“Any proposal that requires students to focus solely on traditional academic subjects is out of step with contemporary learning outcomes that aim to equip students with a mix of vocational as well as academic skills which are better aligned to job and economic outcomes,” says ATTTO Chief Executive Elizabeth Valentine.

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“Attracting bright young people into tourism training and careers is absolutely vital to the continued growth and sustainability of the industry. It is important that due consideration is given to University Entrance as a pathway into jobs and careers, not just academic success.”

She says tourism students gain a range of skills that some of the more academic subjects do not provide, such as problem solving, customer safety, communication and people skills.

HANZ Chief Executive Bruce Robertson says the current proposal devalues a vital export industry and is inconsistent with the government’s objective of growing New Zealand’s economy.

“Our organisations are extremely concerned that NZQA’s proposed changes to UE will restrict career pathways in the tourism and hospitality industries. Their proposal is effectively saying to prospective students ‘don’t choose tourism, it’s not a viable or long-term career option’.”


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