New Zealand’s home spun education system is often touted to the lucrative billion dollar international student market as “world class”. However, many immigrant families from first world countries say it is over sold and under-delivered and their kids stand still for a couple of years after they emigrate to New Zealand. Read Stories about Education: “Students Get NCEA Without Learning Anything” .
Information obtained by the New Zealand Listener under the Official Information Act has revealed that the NCEA is churning out students with low levels of education who are poorly prepared for the intellectual rigors of tertiary education and have a poor work ethic.
Furthermore, on Thursday Education Minister Hekia Parata warned the country to prepare for an embarrassing drop in its education rankings in next week’s OECD’s Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA).
PISA results rate the performance of 15 year olds every three years in maths, science and reading.
Here’s a snippet of what The Listener published under the heading
NCEA slammed -Universities are saying that our secondary school qualification is causing serious problems.
A confidential Tertiary Education Commission report reveals profound and widespread concerns about the way NCEA prepares students for further study. It paints a picture of substandard mathematics and science education, NCEA students coming unstuck in their first year at university and tertiary providers scrambling to come up with their own diagnostic tests and remedial courses.
The document is a summary of formal reports from 15 tertiary institutions – universities and polytechnics – that offer engineering courses. The institutions are not named. One told the Tertiary Education Commission (TEC): “An extremely significant concern is the poor preparation of the bulk of our student cohort following NCEA study.”
The report, drawn up as part of the Government’s plan to boost the numbers of engineering graduates, was presented at a high-level TEC meeting on September 2. The Listener was leaked a key page and obtained the full document under the Official Information Act.
The problems the report flags with NCEA fall into three main categories:
• students getting confused or being given poor advice on subject choice;
• those who do the right subjects still being unprepared for tertiary level study; and
• the system not creating a good work ethic.” source
The Listener went on to reveal
“First-year engineering students were not “well grounded in mathematics” and even moderately achieving high school pupils struggled to connect what they had learned at NCEA level with the demands of tertiary study.
Engineering and science are regarded as important subjects in improving New Zealand’s knowledge base and economic growth, and have been earmarked as a priority by the Government…”
It sounds like the tertiary institutions have a struggle on their hands when the majority of their intake has problems with the basics of math and has a poor work ethic. This is bound to put pressure on them to lower their standards and could be the reason why New Zealand slips further down the international university league table every year.
Considering taking your kids to New Zealand because of its world class education system? Think again, find somewhere that does things properly. Your kids only get one chance at school, don’t blow it.
A teacher says “Students Get NCEA Without Learning Anything”
Students can get NCEA, that is gain credits without actually ‘learning’ anything. I watch it happening all around me in my high school. The teachers do all their work, the kids just type or write the answers. Its a scam so we can pretend that we have an educated population. In fact we have kids illiterate in 2 languages [Maori and English],
Teachers who are undereducated who came through makeshift courses designed to give them a degree much like a birthday present, and yes teachers and students lacking in numeracy skills.
My school is a ‘pretend’ school. Kids spend more time on so-called extra and co-curricular then they do in ‘learning’ to read, to comprehend, to write [yes, to write, I had a 15 year old ask me to teach him how to write last week], to do the sums that will help them manage their money or more likely ‘the dole’.
National Standards may begin to redress that. I live in hope…I teach high school boys who still cannot write a sentence or comprehend even at senior school.
Basics at primary school is essential and a lot less of computers, games, cellphones and TV. The kids are so addicted they get angry when deprived; they come to school exhausted because they’ve spent the night on some electronic device.
The violence and abuse of teachers in schools has also increased and is out of hand even to kids throwing stones at a teacher without any consequence!”
Re. NCEA v. Cambridge Maths, an ex student says
I did NCEA and Cambridge maths. The stuff I did for NCEA in year 13 was easier than the stuff I did in year 9 for Cambridge and the amount of people who just weren’t prepared for maths at university is phenomenal. NCEA promotes rote learning as opposed to actual thinking skills and constantly punishes students who think outside the box or give a right answer which is different than expected (more applicable for the explain questions). It gives no marks for demonstrating understanding but rather for giving a specific answer that the marker wants.
I understand Cambridge and IB don’t necessarily suit everyone and some careers don’t require an understanding (although it is helpful but for some it just takes too long) but do require knowledge. NCEA has it’s place. University is something however which requires understanding and not just rote learning and under NCEA students are woefully under prepared.
To top it off many teachers do not even understand the requirements of NCEA to ensure students know what subjects and standards they need to take to get where they want to go. What we need is teachers who understand the systems, universities with higher requirements (IB or Cambridge), and a decent choice of educating systems (IB, Cambridge, and NCEA) from which a child can choose one which suits their learning style and chosen career path. Many private schools already offer this. Public schools need to be able to do the same and NCEA itself needs to be made consistant (sic).
An expat parent says
“When we moved back home after a fistful of miserable years in New Zealand, the schools were 2 years ahead here. This does not surprise me. Drugs in the schools, indifference, a “good enough” attitude and unwillingness to push students, bullying, sports obsession, lack of financial resources to address learning problems and distribute sufficient supplies, stultifying straitjacket. The teachers were usually nice people. They just had their own way of doing things. Worst of all, however, was that they thought it was better than the systems in 1st World countries because they considered the focus on memorisation to be inferior to their own practice of supposedly exercising the brain (along the lines of teach people to fish, not give them fish). I did not find that they were doing this though. Merely claiming they were doing it as a coverup for what they weren’t doing. It was just another manifestation of their generalised approach of “doing things crappier while claiming that their method worked better than anyone else’s and cooking the figures to match the claim”.
Have experience of NZ’s education system? tell us below.
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Migrant Tales – Teaching in New Zealand and the NCEA: “NCEA markers and moderators are being told to “fudge the figures” for the Minister of Education, a shocked insider reveals in the July issue of North & South..”
- NCEA fails students: Unis (nzherald.co.nz)
- Teachers unhappy with NCEA German exam – complaints that the exam was in German (radionz.co.nz)
- Tertiary institutions face funding clawbacks (radionz.co.nz)
- NCEA exam paper in wrong language (stuff.co.nz)
- NCEA exams begin (radionz.co.nz)
- $31 million for Maori education (stuff.co.nz)
- Tertiary Education Commission restructures again (radionz.co.nz)
- NZ education facing a bad report (nzherald.co.nz)
- NZ set to slip on international education table (nzherald.co.nz)
- Migrant Tales – NZ Not The Land Of Promise For Me (e2nz.org)