Cook Islands Secondary School Students Missing Too Many Classes

admin's picture

Athletic, cultural, church activities hurt exam prep: Principal

By Matariki Wilson

RAROTONGA, Cook Islands (Cook Islands News, Oct. 2, 2014) – There are concerns at the national college over the large number of students absent from school due to Manea Games commitments and families taking advantage of cheap airfares.

Cultural and church activities are also contributing to large numbers of absent students.

While the Tereora College senior management team understand that sometimes events are not easy to organise and that parents want to involve their children in a range of valuable life experiences – this time of year is the most critical for students as they prepare for end of year assessments and exams.

"Many of those going away are at risk of failing their NCEA qualification or potentially missing out on a merit or excellence endorsement," says Tereora College principal Bali Haque.

"This qualification is vital. Success or failure impacts directly on long term tertiary and job prospects."

Tereora College senior management believe that almost all of the students they are concerned about feel torn between meeting their obligations at school and the obligations placed on them by the adults who organise activities which clash with school terms.

"We understand that sometimes events are not easy to organise and their timing is dictated by external authorities. Parents, families and other organisations, of course, want to provide children with a range of valuable experiences."

However Haque says the result is that this term, an eight week term, intended by teachers to be a time for critically important preparations for NCEA examinations , school based assessments and catch up activities, is shaping up to be a mess .

"Too many classes are missing far too many students."

Teachers try hard to make up for lost time by running holiday catch up programmes and tutorials, but even these are increasingly difficult to run simply because many of the students are still away.

Educators are continuously told that NCEA comes first by sports bodies including the Cook Islands Sports and National Olympic Committee (CISNOC) and other community groups and parents.

"But we are appalled by the way that in reality, too often, our students are forced to choose between their academic progress, and participation in (worthy) sporting, cultural or other out of school activities. The schools are closed for 12 weeks a year. Please can we leave school terms for school work?"

Rate this article: 
No votes yet

Add new comment