Wednesday, February 16, 2005

The Government's week of Hell

I'm trying very hard to recall the last time when the government was under pressure on a number of fronts. In addition to George Hawkins blundering along, serious questions have arisen about:
1. NCEA scholarship exams. The level of variation in the scholarship results across subjects is simply ridiculous. There is a related issue in the handling of NCEA level 3 exams which creates the impression that NZQA doesn't know what it's doing. Certainly the failure to conduct rudimentary analysis on the results and the returning of papers before they can be rechecked gives the impression that an outbreak of spasticism has occured within NZQA.

2. Te Wanaga o Aoteoroa. The massive increase in size (from 861 students in 1999 to 34,282 students in 2003) and funding (1999 budget: $3.9 million, 2003 budget: $239 million) in only five years should have alerted education officials to the need for intense supervision to ensure that the institution's management doesn't run amok. Since it has (for example the institution has a fleet of 350 cars which are groomed fortnightly by a company run by a partner of an institution official), serious bloodletting is called for. What astonishes me is that Trevor Mallard supposedly had concerns about the institution during the period of time in question, had impetus to act after Don Brash's first Orewa speech but apparently didn't do enough to halt the mess. What stopped him from wielding the axe a year ago? Then any massacre would have been a vote-winner, now he just looks incompetent for allowing it to fester.