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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 1996 Week 14 Hansard (10 December) . . Page.. 4610 ..

MS HORODNY: I ask a supplementary question. Can you tell the Assembly what the timeline is for the process you have just outlined?

MR HUMPHRIES: There is no timeline, Mr Speaker. I will have to talk to the Chief Minister and work through with her what the issues are that this gives rise to. That really depends on what issues are given rise to and whether we need to engage in further consultation with those regional leaders about those sorts of issues.

MRS CARNELL: I can add slightly to that. We will be reporting back at the next regional leaders forum, which I think will be in February or March.

Secondary Colleges

MS McRAE: My question is to the Minister for Education. Mr Stefaniak, could you inform the house who was consulted prior to the changes to college terms and assessment arrangements? How will those changes affect the colleges that have to change, particularly Narrabundah and Hawker, from three terms to two? Have next year's programs already been modified, and how is it going to affect the international baccalaureate program at Narrabundah?

MR STEFANIAK: I thank the member for the question. There have been ongoing discussions this year about these issues between the central office of Education and Training, the Board of Senior Secondary Studies, and the college principals. Also, the department has sought input on the proposed changes from college and high school boards, the ACT Parents and Citizens Association and the Australian Education Union. In relation to the proposed changes, might I say at the outset that the ACT Year 12 certificate is a very high-quality award which is nationally recognised for university entrance. The certification process for the Year 12 certificate - - -

Ms McRae: That is not what I asked, Mr Stefaniak. I asked about two terms going to three and three to two.

MR STEFANIAK: Yes. It is very important, Ms McRae, when we consider that the Year 12 certificate is a crucially important record for students and employers to validate student educational achievements and to enable students to make sound career and further education decisions. It is very important that these certificates are readily understood by students, employers and parents and are fair to all students.

At present, Ms McRae, as you are well aware, seven of our nine colleges have semesters. Hawker and Narrabundah have trimesters. One of the problems that have been raised with me by the department is that with a trimester set-up you can have a few more subjects on your higher school certificate than you would if you were in a college that offered simply semesters. That may lead to a perception, real or otherwise, of some possible advantage or disadvantage to other students, and I think it is very important that we have a system that is as fair as possible to all our students. It is also important, obviously, that the relevant parties be involved in this. The proposed changes - and they are proposed, so I am interested to hear people's views on them - reflect broad agreement

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