Government announces additional NCEA support for some students struggling due to COVID-19

Auckland students will be able to pass with fewer credits due to COVID-19 disruption.
Auckland students will be able to pass with fewer credits due to COVID-19 disruption. Photo credit: Newshub.

Auckland high school students struggling with NCEA due to COVID-19 will now get more support the Government has announced. 

Auckland students will be able to earn more credits and pass with a lower threshold due to the resurgence of COVID-19 which caused the city to go back into level 3 lockdown in August. Any other school which has to lock down before the end of the school year will also be eligible for the support.

On Tuesday Education Minister Chris Hipkins revealed the slew of changes aimed to take some of the pressure off senior students.

The threshold for an NCEA certificate will drop from 46 credits to 44 credits for schools affected by alert level 3 during Terms 3 or Term 4 - pre-COVID the threshold for endorsement is 50 credits at merit or excellence. 

As well as this, these students will be able to earn additional Learning Recognition Credits (LRC).

 The LRC were introduced by the Ministry of Education in June as an acknowledgement of how students were disrupted by COVID-19. When they were announced, students could earn one additional credit for every five credits they received - now one LRC will be received for each four credits students earn through assessment.

Schools unaffected by lockdowns will have the same criteria as the June announcement. 

This could be even more lenient, says Hipkins.

"There may be a small number of other circumstances where it may be appropriate to apply the expanded LRC changes. NZQA and the Ministry of Education will determine the criteria for consideration of these."

As well as dropping thresholds and increasing LRC, Hipkins has revealed more students will be able to enroll in summer school - the cap for enrolments at Te Kura Correspondence School has been lifted from 1000 to 4000.

Programmes at Te Kura will also be expanded and enhanced to help students at risk of disengaging from education.

Hipkins says the Government is sympathetic to the stress high schoolers have been under.

"This has been a tough year, I encourage students who are feeling anxious or stressed to reach out if they need any help," he said.

As well as loosening criteria for NCEA achievement the Government is on track with connecting some 53,000 households to the internet, distributing laptops and hard packs to support distance learning and setting up more than 20,000 students and teachers from 103 schools to access online schooling.