Hon Chris Hipkins
Minister of Education MEDIA STATEMENT
13 May 2019
Families of secondary students will no longer have to pay fees for NCEA and NZ Scholarship, in one of a raft of changes
announced today to strengthen the qualification and pave the way for more young people to succeed.
More than 145,000 households are estimated to benefit from the removal of the $76.70 NCEA fee that families pay every
year for around 168,000 secondary students.
“As part of the Wellbeing Budget we are abolishing these fees to make things a bit easier for families to make ends meet
and ensure every student who achieves NCEA can receive their qualification,” Education Minister Chris Hipkins said.
“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.”
The removal of fees is one of a number of improvements to the NCEA being announced today, following 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.
“They address limitations and unintended consequences that have built up over time. 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.
“With these improvements NCEA will become more credible and robust. They will set stronger directions for all students
working towards an NCEA.
“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 will get more time to teach and students more time to learn, with a shift away from fragmented, small
assessments towards larger, more unified blocks of learning and assessment. NCEA will be more accessible and more
focused on the most important learning needed to set young people up for success.
“Improving support for students to undertake NCEA through Māori-medium education is long overdue.
“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. And we’ll ensure a greater
range of teaching materials is developed so that mātauranga Māori and te ao Māori have parity within the NCEA
qualification, and within our schools and kura,” Chris Hipkins said.
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
The total cost of removing NCEA fees is expected to be $49 million over the next four years. The Government is also
contributing an additional $14.5 million operating and $6.4 million capital to continue rolling out NCEA Online.
Further information about NCEA Online can be found at www.nzqa.govt.nz/ncea-online
Further information about these changes can be found online at www.conversation.education.govt.nz/ncea