Plan to create merged ‘commerce’ subject criticised

The Government is being urged to reconsider plans to merge accounting, economics and business studies into one subject at NCEA level 1.

In an attempt to strengthen the national certificate of educational achievement curriculum, the Ministry of Education is changing which NCEA level 1 subjects are available to pupils.

The number of subjects will be reduced from 42 to 32.

This would provide a broader foundation at the start of NCEA which would allow for more learning pathways, Education Minister Chris Hipkins said last December.

Among the changes is the removal of economics, accounting and business studies in favour of a single subject called commerce.

A petition with more than 1800 signatures was handed to National Party MP Todd McClay last Thursday, urging the Government to reconsider the removal of the subjects.

New Zealand Commerce and Economics Teachers Association (Ceta) executive manager Tod Carter-Scott said there was no good reason to merge the three subjects.

The three individual subjects were essential for young New Zealanders, she said.

Accounting taught financial literacy, which was low nationally, and economics taught pupils how the country worked.

New Zealand was made up of small businesses, which made business studies vital.

Simplifying those subjects to a hybrid course would set pupils back in all three fields.

‘‘You can’t put three distinct subjects into one, it just doesn’t work.’’

Terminology between the three subjects often had different definitions which conflicted.

Trying to account for these differences would confuse students and make things difficult for pupils going into level 2, she said.

Ms Carter-Scott said there were many other independently specialised subjects at level 1, such as dance and drama.

Accounting, economics and business studies had higher enrollment rates than many of the other specialised subjects.

It did not make sense to remove the more popular classes, she said.

She hoped the ministry would reconsider the decision.

The changes are planned to be piloted next year and offered nationally in 2023.


Good plan. Let's also merge physics, chemistry and biology and call it science. Also English, history and classics and call it humanities.

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