Editorial: NCEA students deserve better

WARWICK RASMUSSEN
Last updated 12:00 18/01/2013

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OPINION: As if the education sector needed another bungle.

This week a group of students, keen to find out how they did in their NCEA exams, got a brief glimpse - which was quickly taken away.

There was a five-minute window online when the results were visible.

That led to a swarm of communications between the New Zealand Qualifications Authority (NZQA) and concerned students and parents.

NZQA deputy chief executive Richard Thornton said the results were visible as part of testing the system.

"As part of our normal processes NZQA runs NCEA results early morning to undertake final checks before we announce that results are available. Some students were online during this five-minute period," he said.

That was it. No apology, no admission that anything went wrong, just a line saying ‘this is what we do, tough'.

That's not good enough.

For the thousands of students who worked all of 2012, the day of finding out NCEA results is huge. For many it is a defining point in their lives. That moment needs to be protected and treated with respect.

So, for NZQA to trot out a glib line, not even an excuse, is poor form. They failed to recognise the significance of the results breach. The system and NZQA let all secondary school students who did NCEA in 2012 down.

Students deserve better.

Not only is it a stressful and anxious time, it is also very exciting. In a world of instant gratification, there are few things that we have to wait patiently for. NZQA's blunder - whether they like to call it that or not - took that moment away and created fear and uncertainty among thousands of students instead.

After a year of issues within the education sector - from Novopay to teacher cuts to school mergers - 2013 needed to start afresh.

Instead, the year started on a bad note.

The NZ Rugby Museum in Palmerston North really is an unsung treasure, in many respects. It has undergone a major revamp and is at a new location, but sometimes we underestimate what a great facility it is for our city and region to have. There are some priceless exhibitions on display related to our national game and some amazing background stories. This week they've taken possession of some of the biggest trophies in the sport: the Rugby World Cup, the Bledisloe Cup, the Rugby Championship Trophy and even the bizarre and over-sized Tri-Nations trophy from 1996, an ugly brute of a prize that's well worth the admission alone.

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- Manawatu Standard

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