Student claims he's not dux because he took 'difficult' subjects

A high school student who narrowly missed out on being his school dux wants the selection method changed.

Filip Vachuda, Onehunga High School's academic runner-up for 2017, says his decision to do "difficult subjects" like physics and calculus cost him the top spot.

In a column for education news site Education Central, Filip claimed the winner - dux litterarum Rosie Hayden - "exempted herself from any math, science, or indeed, scholarship exams and extra subjects". As a result, she had a higher grade point average.

"I couldn't help but wonder: why did my school not consider my more demanding curriculum?" asked Filip.

He wants the way schools select their dux changed to give higher weightings to subjects like calculus and science, and lower the importance of physical education, cooking and "Polynesian dance".

"Chances are more 'difficult' subjects will get you further in life," he says, arguing engineering graduates get paid well, while people who get qualifications in social work, theology and early childhood education earn the least.

"It is great that we value everyone's potential, but shouldn't we, in determining our top academic performers, recognise certain pathways as more challenging and likely to be rewarding?

"We should be encouraging our young people to embark on the most fulfilling, but also fruitful, careers possible."

 Filip admits his column might paint him as a "bad sport", but "challenging dubious outcomes, after all, is simply in pursuit of fair play".

"The young woman who beat me was spectacular at her classes, rightfully deserving all her prizes in drama, media and so on. But forgoing math and science in favour of less academic subjects and being declared the best, all-round, academic achiever adds up all wrong."

He finished the column with some advice for his younger sister - study photography, physical education and dance if she wants to be the "top scholar".

Newshub has contacted Onehunga High School for comment.

In a later Facebook post, Filip said he didn't mean to sound like he was "undermining" Rosie's achievements.

"It's quite difficult to word it in critiquing the ranking system without people getting the wrong idea," he wrote.

"I fully appreciate and admire all that all of my fellow students have achieved, I just think that from an academic point of view the system needs some adjusting."