Pupils' scholarship chances enhanced

A new scholarship programme has been launched at Kaikorai Valley College, aimed at raising academic achievement levels in pupils in years 12 and 13.

Kaikorai Valley College deputy principal John Downes said the college had identified about 23 pupils who had a strong interest in academic excellence and should be opting to complete New Zealand scholarship examinations at the end of the year.

These pupils had been selected to participate in the scholars' development programme, which is sponsored by Downie Stewart Lawyers.

The programme would provide the generic skills needed by pupils to improve academic achievement, such as critical thinking and analysis, integrating knowledge and advanced writing techniques, he said.

''As well, we will be inviting guests and our own staff from different subject areas to deliver thought-provoking subject-specific contexts.''

It was hoped University of Otago vice-chancellor Prof Harlene Hayne and other academic mentors from the university would speak to the pupils.

Mr Downes said it was important to make those in the programme feel like a team, so a number of inclusive activities, panel discussions and a pizza afternoon had been planned.

College staff were determined to give pupils the structure and support to realise their potential, he said.

''Our particular programme has a number of objectives, including lifting the number of NZQA subject scholarships achieved by the school, developing advanced academic skills in our high-achieving students, and enabling students to manage their workload and achievement goals - especially around the time of external exams near the end of the year.

''We believe that some of the strengths of what we are offering are the opportunity to engage outside motivational speakers, and to foster a culture of high achievement and academic excellence amongst the scholarship programme group.''

The development programme sessions would be held for an hour on Tuesday afternoons, and were intended to supplement the Dunedin-wide Otago University secondary schools' scholarship tutorial programme, he said.

john.lewis@odt.co.nz

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