The land of sweeping mountains, golden beaches and stretches of blue, New Zealand is a country straight out of a fairytale. Not just its breathtaking scenery but its cosmopolitan lifestyle, world-class education and global exposure make it a desirable study destination. Studying in New Zealand, you can gain high-quality education at affordable costs as well as the best global exposure in your chosen field of study. From research-oriented programs to immense research opportunities, the universities in New Zealand are amongst top-ranked academic institutions in the world. Are you wondering how the education system of New Zealand is at par compared to the US, the UK and the like? This blog seeks to explore the New Zealand education system, its salient features and what sets it apart from other countries around the world.
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About New Zealand Education System
The education system of New Zealand is student-centred and emphasizes life-long learning. The New Zealand Education System has been ranked 3rd in the world as per the Second edition of Economist Intelligence Unit’s (EIU) Worldwide Educating for the Future Index 2018.
Following a primary, intermediate and secondary schooling structure, the academic apparatus followed in the country is divided into five main levels. There are various stages of learning based on the age of the individual and here are the main schooling levels of the New Zealand Education System.
|Early Childhood||2-5 years|
|Primary School||5-10 years|
|Intermediate School||11-12 years|
|Secondary School||13-18 years|
Admission Intakes in New Zealand
Universities in New Zealand follow two major admission intakes, i.e. for January and July with some institutions open for admission in the months of September and November. Actual admission intakes might vary depending on the course and university.
Early Childhood Education
In the New Zealand Education System, Early Childhood Education (ECE) stage is the pre-primary schooling phase as it comes before a child is old enough to join a primary school. Early learning plays a crucial role in adding to a child’s curiosity towards learning. Though it is not a compulsory phase of education, a larger percentage of children in New Zealand attend pre-primary schools for 20-22 hours per week and for the initial week, their education is funded by the government to ensure that equal education is provided to all.
This first and foremost stage of New Zealand Education System aims to build a child’s abilities and skills, nurtures them to adapt to new situations and prepare them for the challenges that lay ahead when they join a primary school. New Zealand has a large number of licensed early education providers like kindergartens, play centres and home-based centres. This is an important part of a child’s formative years and effective early childhood education lays a foundation for a healthy process of learning by helping them develop their curiosity and creativity.
Interesting Fact: There are Early Childhood Education (ECE) Services offered in New Zealand and are actually subsided by the government for children attending an ECE service referred to as Kōhanga Reo for more than 6 hours a day.
Primary schooling is considered as the first step into the world of formal education. New Zealand Education System has laid a quintessential emphasis on every individual’s right to education as it guides them towards a better life. Every child gets free primary education in the state schools provided that he/she is a permanent resident of New Zealand. This level of schooling is guided by the disciplines and study areas designed by New Zealand National Curriculum and include subjects like Arts, English, Physical Education, Mathematics, Sciences and Technology. The basic skills of reading, writing and simple calculations are taught to children and they are regularly evaluated according to a set standard of assessment. This phase works towards instilling basic life skills in children to build a great foundation for their further education.
Interesting Fact: The primary school starts at Year 1 to Year 8 (including intermediate school from Year 7 to Year 8) and the primary and secondary is considered as compulsory.
The bridging years between primary education and secondary education refer to intermediate schooling stage in the New Zealand Education System. These two or three years of schooling are focussed on enhancing the basic skills of children and making them more conversant with the ways of the world. This level of education is offered by primary schools or in some cases by intermediate schools. These years emphasize on helping students find their interests and develop their potentials to ensure that they make the right decision when choosing a field later in their careers.
Interesting Fact: Intermediate Schooling in the New Zealand Education System is often considered a part of the primary schooling stage.
High schoolers or students enrolled in secondary schools work to achieve the National Certificate of Education Achievement (NCEA) which is the main high school qualification under the New Zealand Education system. Most secondary schools in the country are state-owned and follow the national curriculum while there are some state-integrated schools and private schools. These years move towards the conclusion of the schooling phase. Along with the major qualification, various vocational courses and qualifications are often offered to help students explore a diverse range of fields they are interested in and then choose for the next phase of their education accordingly. These qualifications prepare students for the challenges of the professional world. Choosing the right course and vocational degree is the key in this phase as it forms the base for future educational endeavours like a Bachelor’s degree or a diploma degree. This is the final step of schooling and provides the impetus for students to join the next phase of higher degree-level education.
Interesting Fact: For those who can’t attend regular schools, Te Aho o Te Kura Pounamu (Te Kura) is a correspondence school which imparts early childhood, primary and secondary education to students through multimedia technology and online learning. It is also an open learning school for those planning to explore a few courses which aren’t offered at your school.
Interesting Fact: There are different types of provisions after the senior secondary school level for polytechnic courses, vocational and technical education like Youth Guarantee Courses, Trades Academies, Institutes of Technology, Industrial Training Organisations, etc.
At the tertiary education stage, higher-level degrees which are research-oriented and skill-based are offered by universities and colleges in New Zealand. The country is home to 8 state-funded universities, 16 Institutes of Technology and Polytechnics (ITPs) and multiple Private Training Establishments (PTT). PPT programs are mostly specialized vocational degrees while universities offer courses that familiarize students with the professional world and allow students to undertake further educational qualifications like postgraduate degrees and doctorates spread across a varied array of specializations and subject areas.
Interesting Fact: The QS University Rankings 2021 featured 8 universities of New Zealand under Top 100 for at least one subject.
Top Universities in New Zealand
The universities and colleges in New Zealand offer globally recognized degrees spread across a wide range of fields and specialisations. New Zealand is becoming increasingly popular amongst international students as its academic institutions have consistently ranked amongst the top universities. Enlisted below are the world-class and top-ranked universities in the world which you must consider if you are planning to pursue higher studies there:
- University of Auckland
- University of Canterbury
- University of Otago
- Victoria University of Wellington
- Auckland University of Technology
- Massey University
- University of Waikato
- Lincoln University
Want to know more? Explore Countries with Best Education System!
Thus, the meticulously designed New Zealand Education System has its essential focus on imparting high-quality education, nurturing the interests and skills of every individual and emphasising on skill development and life-long learning. If you want to pursue your higher education in New Zealand, our Leverage Edu mentors are here to guide you throughout the admission process of your dream university ensuring that you send an impressive application and get successfully shortlisted! Register today for a free counselling session with us today!