An interesting development from the government, allowing students to get NCEA credits for getting their drivers licence.
School students will be able to get NCEA credits by obtaining a driver licence – and will even pick-up credits for passing a learner’s theory test.
In making the announcement, Education Minister Hekia Parata said too many young people missed out on jobs because they didn’t have a licence, and others found themselves before courts because they drove without a licence.
Students will gain 2 credits towards NCEA Level 1 by passing the learner licence theory test, 4 credits towards NCEA Level 2 for a restricted licence, and another 2 credits towards NCEA Level 2 for gaining a full licence.
The changes will be in place by April next year.
Ms Parata said schools would not be obliged to include driver training in their curricula, “but many will find doing so makes learning more relevant for students”.
“As an example, a school might find that incorporating a learning module for the licence theory test into its Year 11 English programme…helps to engage the interest of students.”
I do believe that having a drivers licence is a good skill to have but I wonder if in some ways it’s fighting a natural trend being seen the world over. As we know fewer young people are choosing to get their drivers licence compared with 10+ years ago. This is shown quite well by the Ministry of Transport’s Household Travel Survey.
As our cities develop – especially in Auckland – alternatives to driving will only get better and further reduce the need for many to get a licence and as such the trend is likely to continue. Does this change then put pressure on young people to get a licence and drive more?
The rational is primarily about needing licences to get jobs, something the Auckland Chamber of Commerce have been crucial in pushing for some time.
Associate Transport Minister Craig Foss, who made today’s announcement with Ms Parata, said employers had reported 16-24-year-olds being held back by not having a licence.
“Removing barriers that some young people face in gaining their licence is an ongoing focus for the Government.”
Michael Barnett, chief executive of the Auckland Chamber of Commerce, said the changes would help address a skills shortage in industries, such as trades and transport, where the only entry barrier was a lack of a full driver licence.
Just how important is having a licence for most jobs young people would be applying for and how many of those jobs actually involve some aspect of driving? I suspect more of the thinking going on behind this – based on comments I’ve heard elsewhere – is that many employers still view driving as the only reliable way for staff to get to work. I’ve even heard stories of people looked over for a job because they didn’t have a car and therefore couldn’t be reliable despite being within easy walking distance of the employer.
By including licences within NCEA are we potentially encouraging young people to drive more?