Pasifika social service Fonua Ola welcomes NCEA fees being cut

A social services provider for Pacific Islanders in Auckland has welcomed the Government's proposed abolition of NCEA fees.

On Monday, Education Minister Chris Hipkins announced an annual fee of $76.70 for students sitting NCEA will be abolished at a cost of $49 million.

"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," Hipkins said.

"It is another step by the coalition Government to put the free back into free education."

The move has been welcomed by Fiu Wesley Talai'manu, spokesperson for Fonua Ola, a social service for Pacific families in Auckland.

He said many parents aren't aware that the assessments come with extra costs, meaning they can be blindsided and money they had budgeted for other basic needs.

"They are either not made aware until really late in the process or they haven't [seen] there is this extra cost on the kid's bill. So I think they will be happy to have the cost dropped from the school's bill," he told Newshub.

"Because of fees being high, they are not able to buy that extra sweatshirt or jumper when it gets really in the winter, and with this being dropped they might be able to afford something like that or budget for it."

Talai'manu said for big families on low incomes, the fees can be costly.

"If you have a four people going through NCEA, that is quite a significant cost… so being able to eliminate that for a parent who is low wage, that's really helpful."

Other changes announced by Hipkins on Monday include a move away from internal assessments while exams will become worth 50 percent of marks across all subjects.

Students will also be required to achieve 20 credits in literacy and numeracy - something they will be able to work to from year seven.

National Party education spokesperson Nikki Kaye said the changes have the party's "general support".

"There is still a lot of detail to be worked out, like how many standards will exist in each subject and how big they will be; whether some standards will be essential and detail around assessments including how predictable external assessments will be.

"National will be following closely, but today’s announcement is a step forward."