Making school less testing

Saturday September 14, 2019 Written by Published in Education
Teei Tuteru is in her last year studying at Tereora College. 19091356 Teei Tuteru is in her last year studying at Tereora College. 19091356

School students will no longer have to pay a $67 annual fee to have their qualifications awarded, as schools across Cook Islands and New Zealand finally get to enjoy reforms to the curriculum.


Year 13, NCEA Level 3 student Teei Tuteru said that without the $67 fee, it would be easier for families. She remembers her fee had to be paid at the stressful time near the end of the year – she’s happy she and her mum don’t have to worry about it now.

“I think this has already made it easier for students, it’s one less thing to pay,” said Tuteru.

Tuteru has an afterschool job at CITC supermarket helping people pack their groceries and she said some of the money she makes will go towards paying her school fees.

Last year, New Zealand’s Ministry of Education asked Pacific students, parents, families, teachers and communities across New Zealand, as well as in Niue and the Cook Islands, to share their views and experiences of the National Certificate of Educational Achievement and the school curriculum.

They found that most people saw NCEA as a strong and valuable qualification. NCEA helped young people to get a good education and sets them up for further study at university or employment after school.

However, they heard that for many Pacific students, this was not the case. New Zealand’s Ministry of Education reported a lot of Pacific student experienced racist and biased practices during NCEA, which made it harder for them to experience quality learning.

Many students also felt increasingly stressed with the amount of assessments they were doing throughout the year, and in some cases this was affecting their family and life at home.

Now they have made some key changes to make NCEA more accessible which include less testing and the removal of fees for NCEA, because they found that some families struggled to pay them.

Principal of Tereora College Tania Morgan said it was vital that the Cook Islands had a voice during the survey where the New Zealand’s Ministry of Education visited the Cook Islands and spoke to students and teachers in Rarotonga and Aitutaki.

“Every Pacific community has different challenges, so having our voices heard was a big drive for the school,” said Morgan.

Although these changes will be slowly implemented over a few years, future students will have fewer, larger standards, a simpler NCEA structure, and clearer pathways to further education and employment.

There will be strengthening of literacy and numeracy requirements, and NCEA Level 1 will be trialled as an optional level.

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