Thursday, November 15, 2007

Curse you, NZQA !!!

What IS it about education in this freaking country ? Why must it be administered by a bureaucratic bunch of losers which would make Kafka* spin in his grave ? Get this - the year 10 ( 4th formers for all you old-speaker out there ) have an English exam soon, and it's going to be based pretty heavily on the format of the 1.6 NCEA exam for Y11 ( 5th form ) students.

I know that they have old exam papers on-line, so I go to download a couple of poetry question sections so my students can get a taste of the kind of thing they'll have to answer. Found questions, copied them, no problem.

So then I go to open the on-line resource book for that years exam. This is the one that actually has the literature / text extracts that they're having to answer the question ON. Kinda important to have.

The document is opened, and I was stunned to find that EVERY resource you would need to make any of the questions USEFUL to look at have been removed and replaced with the uniform comment 'This resource has been removed for copyright reasons'.

WHAT !!?!!?!

$#@$#**&^%@$@ !!!!

What kind of bollocks is that ? Since WHEN is rampant publishing of a POEM on-line been a major breech of copy-right law ??

I can imagine the ads now :

"You wouldn't steal a handbag ! You wouldn't steal a car ! YOU WOULDN'T DARE STEAL A POEM !! YOU TWISTED SACK OF INFECTED INTESTINAL WALL ! Downloading POETRY is THEFT ! And poetry theft will be met with swift and terrible justice delivered by CHUCK NORRIS HIMSELF !!!! YOU WILL PAY with BLOOOOOOD !!!"

Yeah - because I heard that the international poetry studios are REALLY hurting because of that whole on-line exam racket. Sylvia Plath is righteously pissed off ... no wait - she's DEAD. Like your freaking MEDIUM !!!

Look, nothing against poetry, but it's HARDLY at the vanguard of the arts. Incan-restoration interpretive dance is more widely regarded ( and NO - you can't claim that 'song lyrics' count as poetry ! ). If I were a poet, I'd be BEGGING to have my poem in a senior English exam - just for the freaking exposure ! Do you realise how many teenagers could be baffled by your obscure metaphors about pioneer NZ women or a sunset ? HEAPS !

So I just photocopied the original exam paper we had in the department files.

Yeah - way to stop me in my poem-piracy tracks, huh? You like that NZQA ? Cos I got more where THAT came from ! Jerks ...

* I have no idea if this reference makes sense. I have never read Kafka. He wrote a story about a castle that was supposed to be some kind of allagory. And he never finished it ... or something. It sounded good though, eh ?


debbie said...

Oh yeah, I have so been there with trying to make unfamiliar text resources - it makes having the question paper available on the website completely pointless.

At our school, we have started asking students to leave the resource booklets behind in the hall so we can horde them for future mock exams.

On the Kafka front, you had me convinced you knew his works well with the allusion. A lot of his work deals with mind-boggling absurd bureaucracy - NZQA would fit in well in one of his stories, especially if it then turned into a giant insect over night.

Anonymous said...

You should scan the poetry and put it online.

Then wait for the armed offenders' squad to come knocking :-)

"Look out, he's got a simile!"

Jenni said...

Poetry theft is a serious crime. Why else do we have the International Poetry Police?