Former students and parents have reacted angrily after the Government announced yesterday that all unpaid NCEA fees would be wiped.
Nearly 150,000 students who have had school credits held back for the past 17 years over unpaid NCEA fees have been handed over their grades.
However, the Government's good deed has received backlash online — from many seeing the credit wipe unfair for various reasons.
One including struggling parents who worked overtime to pay off the fee, with some believing those parents should receive a refund.
"My parents couldn't afford to pay for it when I was in school and worked overtime for a long long time to pay it because they felt it was important, we went without things to have it paid," a former student wrote.
"Now this has happened? Do the families who were in my shoes get a refund? This is where it's all wrong. I've been out of uni not knowing if I've gotten all my NCEA paid for and actually have it, it sucks. Yay for the younger generations."
One parent wrote: "How fair is that to everyone who paid up, it took me 8 months to pay my son's debt off at his school but I did it. Great message to send."
Another agreed: "Great, will those who paid for their kids and paid for stepkids whose custodial parents didn't bother be reimbursed? Just asking as I know families who scraped every last penny together to pay as they did not qualify for the CSC discount or any other offer. Or what about those who went onto tech etc to get qualifications that they already actually had? Those unnecessary fees?"
Other former students shared their troubles not being able to pass NCEA because they couldn't afford the fees.
"I passed all my exams and credits but because I couldn't afford the fee, I couldn't pass! I was on my own, 16 paying board with my minimum $8.25 wage and still going to school, I couldn't afford it," a former student wrote.
Another asked: "So does that mean I'll get mine now?? I have my level 1 and 2 NCEA but my parents never paid for it and I have never seen why I should pay for something I done the work for."
A former teacher wrote about the time she saw a student who stopped going to school because their parents couldn't afford the fee.
"I remember a year 13 student I had that had the credits for levels 1 and 2 but hadn't paid fees. She had stopped coming to school because of the embarrassment. There were systems to help and I tried numerous times to make them work but all of them involved her parents who worked shifts and had very little English so it all just became impossible to get them into school to sign the forms. In the end, I just paid her fees. Now kids like her will have more employment and training opportunities."
Others were happy about the news, believing that students shouldn't be penalised for the work they do.
"Fantastic! Children should not be penalised because their parents don't have the means to pay for whatever reason. The children have done the work & passed their NCEA exams," one person wrote.
Another wrote: Long overdue... penalising students who achieved credits but whose family couldn't pay fees created unnecessary barriers for many."
The Government has already scrapped NCEA fees, but the debt write-off will see 149,618 former pupils get additional credits. For 60,595 it will mean at least one new qualification is awarded.
It will see 24,545 Level 1 qualifications handed out, 26,832 at Level 2 and 32,743 at Level 3.
The Child Poverty Network, which has for years called for the fees to be scrapped, said the system had been "grossly unfair".
"NCEA fees are such a cost barrier, they add to poverty stigmas when families can't afford them, and we are really pleased the Government is working toward taking those barriers down," spokeswoman Jeni Cartwright said.