Thousands sign petition pleading for reversal of new NCEA exam dates

Thousands of people have signed a petition to fight changes to the NCEA schedule which they claim will "force" students to stay at school longer - but others are celebrating the changes.

On Thursday the Education Ministry decided to push NCEA exam dates back to reflect the disruption caused by the COVID-19 alert level 4 lockdown.

Exams will start on November 22 and finish December 14 - two weeks later than the original schedule.

But more than 20,000 New Zealanders disagree with this change, according to a petition which is gaining traction.

The petition, signed by 20,366 people, says the extension will force students to stay later than intended and "indefinitely" interrupt their plans.

"I myself planned to be working in the 14 days which NZQA has now allocated to the NCEA end-of-year externals," the description reads.

"By disallowing students to make money they may face a serious financial struggle when it comes to their tertiary studies."

But not everyone is disheartened by the changes - students spoken to by RNZ celebrated the date change, saying it gives more time to prep for exams.

Sir Edmund Hillary Collegiate head girl Ledwina Katuke said she was expecting the decision because the Qualifications Authority had done the same thing last year.

"I guess the decision is actually a great thing for our students because it gives us more preparation time. It's way more difficult to be preparing at home rather than at school because you don't get the face-to-face contact you would get with your teachers," she said.

But comments on the petition had a vastly different view with many citing holidays they had already booked and paid for, work commitments or even mental health issues.

"People are already burnt out by the end of exam period as it is," wrote one person.

"Adding two extra weeks of school is going to mean people are out of energy before exams have even begun."