Annual NCEA fee of $76.70 scrapped for ‘stronger’ education system
The families of secondary students will no longer have to pay fees for NCEA and NZ Scholarship.
More than 145,000 households are estimated to benefit from the removal of the $76.70 NCEA fee that families pay every year.
Education Minister Chris Hipkins said as part of the Wellbeing Budget they were abolishing fees to make things a bit easier for families.
“It is another step by the Coalition Government to put the free back into free education.”
The Government is also funding the continued roll out of the NCEA Online programme so students can opt to sit their exams using a PC or laptop.
“This reflects the way students already interact with the world and how they are doing much of their learning, and it helps to prepare them for their next steps after school,” Hipkins said.
The removal of fees was one of a number of improvements to the NCEA announced today.
It follows a year-long review which 16,000 New Zealanders took part in.
“These improvements are a major step towards making the respected and valued NCEA more relevant for students.”
The changes addressed issues which had build up over time, Hipkins said.
“Over-assessment has been swamping students and teachers and getting in the way of actual learning, and the current reality is that some students can finish school with gaps in their knowledge and skills.
“Some young people don’t cover all the learning that is important and there has not been a strong enough focus on literacy and numeracy.”
The changes would make NCEA more credible and robust, he said.
“Considering that only around a third of Year 13 school leavers go into degree-level study, it is vital we do more to prepare all students for successful transitions into vocational training, work, or further studies.”
Teachers would get more time to teach, he said.
“[It’s] a shift away from fragmented, small assessments towards larger, more unified blocks of learning and assessment.”
Improving support for students to undertake NCEA through Māori-medium education was “long overdue”, he said.
“The default choice that many whanau face is to revert to English-medium schooling at secondary level.
“The Government has already announced more investment to recruit and train teachers fluent in Te reo Māori.”
National Party education spokeswoman Nikki Kaye said there was still a lot of detail to be worked out, but they generally supported the move to scrap the fees.
“The scrapping of fees will reduce barriers to NCEA and will see more young people have their qualifications recognised.”
There were too many standards, creating large workloads for teachers and students, she said.
“We believe it is important to ensure that changes trade a little bit of NCEA’s vast flexibility for fewer, bigger standards that equip young people with the essential knowledge and concepts from each subject area.”
The strengthening of numeracy and literacy would make a huge difference in the lives of young people, she said.
“We know that nationally, expectations can and should be higher, and that schools and students will rise to the challenge.”
National has previously raised concerns about the risk of NCEA Level 1 being scrapped. “We are pleased it will remain an option for schools.”
The Ministry of Education will work with stakeholders to confirm the detailed design and implementation plan by the end of the year, with implementation expected over four years starting in 2020.
Costs will be finalised by the end of the year.