19 Sep 2009

Debate widens over whether UE is tough enough

8:51 pm on 19 September 2009

The head of the Secondary Principals' Association says funding issues may be the reason for claims that the current University Entrance qualification is not hard enough.

The University Vice Chancellors Committee wants the Qualifications Authority to toughen the entrance qualification, which is NCEA level 3. They say it's not robust enough for university requirements.

Association president Peter Gall says the claims are unfounded and untrue. He says universities are trying to gain greater control over enrolments, and the fact that they are in dispute with the Government over who should fund enrolment increases may be influencing their claims.

The Qualifications Authority says the time is right to look at whether University Entrance standards are tough enough. Deputy chief executive Bali Haque says it has had discussions about UE with university vice-chancellors, but more groups need to be brought into the debate.

He says the authority is currently undertaking a review of all NCEA standards and there will be changes to level 3 as part of that.

Standards might 'mislead' students about their chances

Vice Chancellors Committee chair Roger Field says there has been growing concerns about the suitability of achievement standards, which could mislead prospective students into believing they can succeed at university.

The committee is also looking at whether regulations allowing enrolment by people aged over 20 who don't have UE should be changed.

Tertiary student groups say they would oppose any move making it harder to get into university. The co-president of the Union of Students Associations, Jordan King, rejects any suggestion that the standard is not tough enough.