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Principal says keep NCEA options open

28 May 2018

Posted in: Pacific Radio News,

By Ruci Farrell -

An Auckland school principal is concerned locking students into vocational pathways when they are 14 or 15 is premature, as teenagers are prone to changing their minds about their future.

Radical changes to NCEA proposed by a ministerial advisory group has drawn mixed responses from education stakeholders.

Photo/ 1 News.

Minister of Education Chris Hipkins says the ideas proposed by the advisory group are to challenge thinking and provoke debate on updating the national school-leaving qualification.

But Ōtāhuhu College Principal Neil Watson says he would prefer to see students complete NCEA Level Two and Three with financial and digital literacy, before transitioning to vocations or further studies of their choice.

"One of my concerns is plotting journeys into a pathway when they are 14 or 15-years-old and then effectively they are stuck in that... Teenagers change their minds a lot at what they want to do." 

Watson says we all know the world's changing rapidly in terms of world views, but it's important students do really well in school and keep their option for as long as they can.

He says numeracy, financial and digital literacy at NCEA level are key areas of focus with most students completing NCEA 3.

Public consultation on the NCEA review and will run until September 16.

"I will report to Cabinet with the consultation findings and recommendations about the future of NCEA in February 2019," says Hipkins.

Big opportunities identified by the Ministerial Advisory Group:

  1. Re-imagine NCEA Level 1 so it is focused on ensuring young people are prepared for further study, work, and life as citizens
  2. Strengthen and clarify our expectations for literacy and numeracy attainment
  3. Explicitly build into NCEA Levels 2 and 3 a requirement to prepare young people for further study, work, and life
  4. Provide support for teachers, schools, and kura to enable real learning and coherent programmes
  5. Strengthen and enhance the Record of Achievement so it provides a full picture of what young people have achieved
  6. Remove barriers to achieving NCEA, starting with fees, process for accessing Special Assessment Conditions, and access to quality curriculum support materials.

Tags: education,