Catholic Church principals protest against NCEA review

Church schools join NCEA protest against Education Minister Chris Hipkins

Principals of several Auckland Catholic schools have joined a protest against what they call a rushed NCEA review.

Education Minister Chris Hipkins says four months is long enough to review the NCEA.

Forty Auckland school principals disagree. They took the full-page advertisement in a Sunday paper to mark the minister as a failure.

Yet Hipkins says many of those who signed a newspaper advertisement tend towards the traditional. Their views are well known.

Hipkins says that he may extend the review because of the protest.

“We don’t want to rush this. We do want to make sure that everybody who has got a view has the opportunity to participate,” he says.

First, the advertisement says, “Too rushed Minister Hipkins.” It accuses Hipkins of not thinking the review through enough.

While the principals don’t oppose the NCEA review, they say it is flawed. Their advertisement says that they won’t stand idle on the sidelines to see a fraught process pass them by.

Furthermore, they say there has been a lack of process with secondary school principals.

Church school principals who added their names to the advertisement included Myles Hogarty, De La Salle College, Jim Dale, Sacred Heart College and Kieran Fouhy, St Paul’s College.

“We are the guardians of young people’s secondary school education and believe our input is essential,” the advertisement read.

Minister unmoved

Hipkins says the review doesn’t limit itself to principals. The review panel of seven must involve everybody.

The principals also oppose that part of the review that is a students’ competition. It invited students aged 5 to 18 to enter competitions to “express themselves.” Prizes valued at over $27,000 are on offer.

“We suggest that those with experience in the sector (teachers and principals) should have been asked directly for feedback,” they say.

Hipkins says he could read the principals’ reference in the ad to the contribution of young voices many different ways.

He says he’s not surprised by some of the principals’ names in the ad.

“They are much more traditional in their thinking. We do want to hear from them but also want to hear from people with different views,” he says.

The principals want to recruit enough teachers and then gain a consensus on the curriculum.

“With teacher supply secured and a curriculum in place, we would have a sound foundation to improve the existing NCEA assessment system.”

Furthermore, they want the process to start with direct consultation with second school principals.

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Image credit: NZ Herald

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