Free state education a step closer with NCEA changes

The kiwi ideal of free state education is a step closer with the announcement that NCEA will be free of charge to students, while the overall emphasis on making NCEA more accessible and easier to understand, begins to place students back at the centre of the education system.

NZSTA released the following statement:

This is worth celebrating in itself, but also as a signal that the system priorities are shifting back towards student experiences and outcomes in practical ways, not just on paper.

Ensuring equal status for Mātauranga Māori – understanding of Māori knowledge – is another important dimension of the proposed changes and fits well with the other proposals for bringing the NCEA qualifications up to speeds for the 21st century.

“The changes announced today are a welcome dose of common sense. We’re feeling really encouraged by the focus on making it easier for all students to understand and get access to NCEA qualifications, says NZSTA President Lorraine Kerr.

“It’s hard to see how anyone could argue with these proposals. NZSTA is looking forward to seeing how the detailed design work comes together over the next few months, and we’ll be looking to make sure that it delivers on the intent that’s outlined here.”

PPTA president Jack Boyles responded: “Anything that makes school more equitable for every child in New Zealand is something we support wholeheartedly.”

Many of the changes proposed in the NCEA overhaul are things PPTA has advocated for over a number of years.

“It is particularly pleasing to see the immediate removal of NCEA and scholarship fees, as this has been a barrier to gaining a certificate for some students,” Boyles said.

“An acknowledgment of the need for better resources and supports, particularly for teaching and learning for Māori, is welcomed,” he said.

“We can also see where considerable effort has been made to try and reduce excessive workload for teachers and students.”

The changes will provide more certainly for teachers, he added. “Amongst the considerable changes proposed in our education sector, we are pleased to have some clarity about the direction of the NCEA.”

There is a lot of work to be done by schools to allow these changes to be implemented however, Jack said.

“We await with interest the detail of the implementation plan and support for teachers to manage the increased workload that will accompany these changes.”

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