Education in New Zealand
Education in New Zealand follows the three-tier model which includes primary schools, followed by secondary schools (high schools) and tertiary education at universities and/or polytechs.
The Programme for International Student Assessment ranks New Zealand's education as the 7th best in the world. The Education Index, published with the UN's Human Development Index in 2008, based on data from 2006, lists New Zealand as 0.993, amongst the highest in the world, tied for first with Denmark, Finland and Australia.
Education is free and compulsory between the ages of 6 and 16, although in very special cases an exemption can be gained after applying to the MOE. These may be granted to students who are close to 16, have been experiencing some ongoing difficulty at school and have a job already lined up. Families wishing to home educate their children can apply for exemption. To get an exemption from enrollment at a registered school, they must satisfy the Secretary of Education that their child will be taught "as regularly and as well as in a registered school".
Children almost always start school on their 5th birthday, or the first School Day after it. Post-compulsory education is regulated within the New Zealand National Qualifications Framework, a unified system of national qualifications in schools, vocational education and training.
The academic year in New Zealand varies between institutions, but generally runs from late January until mid-December for primary and secondary schools and polytechnics, and from late February until mid-November for universities.
- 1 Early childhood education
- 2 Compulsory (primary and secondary)
- 3 Tertiary education
- 4 Funding
- 5 See also
- 6 References
- 7 External links
Early childhood education
Many children attend some form of early childhood education before they begin school.
- Playcentre (Birth to school age)
- Kindergarten (Ages 3 – 5)
- Kohanga Reo,
- Licensed Early Childhood Centres (Ages 0 – 5) (usually privately owned)
- Chartered Early Childhood Centres (Ages 0 – 5) (state funded)
Compulsory (primary and secondary)
Free Primary and Secondary education tuition is a right for all New Zealand children from age 5 until the end of the calendar year following the student's 19th birthday, and is compulsory for students between the ages of 6 and 16 (15 with parental and school permission). A recent proposal by the New Zealand Government, called Schools Plus, would see students required to remain in some form of education until age 18. Disabled students with special educational needs can stay until the end of the calendar year they turn 21.
While state funded tuition is free, students must still pay for course materials and related costs. Also, almost all schools charge a tax deductible "donation" that most parents pay. Private or independent schools charge tuition fees while state integrated schools, which are often church funded, may charge an additional levy for the school buildings. International students with valid student visas can also be enrolled in state funded schools provided they pay the appropriate international student tuition fees. A number of schools use international student fees to supplement their state funding.
Most students start when they turn 5, and remain in school for the full 13 years. Students living more than 5 kilometres walking distance from the nearest school (or public transport to school) may be exempted from attending school but may be required to enrol in a correspondence school. Many schools contract public transport operators to provide school buses that deliver students to the school gate in the morning and home again at the end of the school day.
While there is overlap in some schools, primary school ends at Year 8 and secondary school at Year 13. The last two years of primary school are frequently taken at a separate intermediate school instead of at a primary school, leaving 'contributing' primary schools to end at Year 6. Some areas though have 'full' primary schools which go to year 8. Outside of the following categories, many private schools, state area schools and state integrated schools take students from Years 0 to 13, or Years 7 to 13.
There are three types of school: state, private (or registered or independent) and state integrated schools. State and state integrated schools are government funded. Private schools receive about 25% of their funding from the government, and rely on tuition fees for the rest. State integrated schools are former private schools which are now "integrated" into the state system under the Private Schools Conditional Integration Act 1975 "on a basis which will preserve and safeguard the special character of the education provided by them". According to Independent Schools New Zealand, an advocacy group for private schools, about 86% of all school-aged children attend state schools, 10% attend state integrated schools and 4% attend private schools. In addition, parents may home school their own children if they can prove that their child will be "...taught at least as regularly and as well as in a registered school...", and are given an annual grant to help with costs, including services from The Correspondence School. The percentage of children home schooled is well under 2% even in the Nelson region, the area where it is most popular, but there are many local and national support groups.
Years of schooling
Between 2000 and 2007 most New Zealand schools moved towards designating school class levels based on the years of schooling of the student cohort. The introduction of NCEA, computerised enrolment and school roll return guideline changes, amongst others, have been drivers for this change. Before this, a system of Forms, Standards and Juniors or Primers was used. Although those older terms are no longer used for most school administration they still appear in education legislation, at some (mainly independent) schools, and in talk with older generations, who often prefer to use the terms they are more familiar with. However, one should ask today's students "Which year are you in?" rather than "Which form are you in?", as many will confuse 'form' with form class.
There are 13 academic year levels, numbered 1 through to 13. Students turning five enter at Year 1 if they begin school at the beginning of the school year or before the cut-off date (31 March in legislation, later for most schools). Students who turn five late in the year might stay in Year 1 for the next school year depending on their academic progress. The Ministry of Education draws a distinction between academic and funding year levels, the latter being based on when a student first starts school – students first starting school after July, so do not appear on the July roll returns, so are classified as being in Funding Year 0 that year, so they are recorded as being in Year 1 on the next year's roll returns. Students in Years 7 and 8 may attend an Intermediate School which provides a transition from primary schooling to secondary schooling. The last year of primary schooling is Year 8, and students must vacate Year 8 by the end of the school year after their 14th birthday (although most students are 12–13 when they transition to secondary school). The first year of secondary education is Year 9. The Ministry of Education requires that a student's funding year and academic year are aligned in years 7, 8, and 9, irrespective of when they first started school. Students who do not achieve sufficient credits in NCEA may or may not repeat Year 11, 12 or 13, while attempting to attain credits not achieved in NCEA – repeating a year often depends on what credit have been attained and what NCEA levels the majority of study is at. Year 13 is seen as the traditional end of secondary school, with an extra funding year
Under the old system of Forms, Standards and Juniors, there were two Junior years followed by four Standard years in primary school, followed by seven Forms. Forms 1 and 2 were in intermediate school and the remaining five were in secondary school.
Year Old system Curriculum/Qualification Level School type 0 New Entrants Level 1 Full Primary School Contributing Primary Composite school 1 Junior 1/Primer 1 2 Junior 2/Primer 2 3 Standard 1 Level 2 4 Standard 2 Level 2 5 Standard 3 Level 2–3 6 Standard 4 Level 3 7 Form 1/Standard 5 Level 3–4 Intermediate school Secondary school
Junior secondary school 8 Form 2/Standard 6 Level 4 9 Form 3 Level 4–5 Secondary school 10 Form 4 Level 5 11 Form 5 Level 5–6 / NCEA Level 1 Senior secondary school 12 Form 6 Level 6–7 / NCEA Level 2 13 Form 7 Level 7–8 / NCEA Level 3
Types of schools
Most schools cater for either primary, intermediate, full primary (combined primary / intermediate) or secondary school students. Full primary schools are more common in minor urban and rural areas, while separate primary ("contributing primary") and intermediate schools are more common in major and secondary urban areas:
- Years 1–6: Contributing Primary School (Ages 5–11).
- Years 7–8: Intermediate School (Ages 11-13).
- Years 1–8: Full Primary School (Ages 5–13).
- Years 9–13: Secondary School (Ages 13–17).
However, some schools cater for students across two or more of these groups. These are rarer than schools which teach the groups above. Area schools are generally found in rural areas, where there are not enough students to run two separate schools productively. A list of these types of schools, and the years they cater for, is below.
- Years 7–10: Middle School (Ages 10–15), extremely rare.
- Years 11–13: Senior School (Ages 14–18), extremely rare.
- Years 7–13: Intermediate/Secondary School (Ages 10–18), particularly common amongst state integrated and private schools.
- Years 1–13: Area schools (Ages 5–18)
- Preschool – Year 13: The Correspondence School (Preschool – Age 19)
State school enrolment schemes
For state schools, the Education Amendment Act 2000 puts in place a new "system for determining enrolment of students in circumstances where a school has reached its roll capacity and needs to avoid overcrowding." Schools which operate enrolment schemes have a geographically defined "home zone". Residence in this zone, or in the school's boarding house, if it has one, gives right of entry to the School. Students who live outside the school's home zone can be admitted, if there are places available, in the following order of priority: special programmes; siblings of currently enrolled students; siblings of past students; children of board employees and staff; all other students. If there are more applications than available places then selection must be through a randomly-drawn ballot. The system is complicated by some state schools having boarding facilities for students living beyond the school's zone. Typically these students live in isolated farming regions in New Zealand, or their parents may live or work partly overseas. Many secondary schools offer limited scholarships to their boarding establishment to attract talented students, such as rugby players from Fiji, in imitation of private school practice.
Critics have suggested that the system is fundamentally unfair as it restricts the choice for parents to choose schools and schools to choose their students although it does allow all students living in the community to have entry, as of right, regardless of their academic or social profile. In addition, there is evidence that property values surrounding some more desirable schools become inflated, thus restricting the ability of lower socio-economic groups to purchase a house in the zone, though this is off set by the fact that students are accepted from rental accommodation or from homes where they are boarding with a bona fide relative or friend living in the zone.
There are several branches of tertiary education in New Zealand.
For non-private institutions, see also: state sector organisations in New Zealand
Typically, a bachelor's degree will take three years, and a further year of study will lead to an Honours degree. Not every degree follows this 3+1 pattern: there are some four year degrees (which may or may not be awarded with Honours), and some specialist bachelor's degrees which take longer to complete. Typically, Honours may be awarded with first class, upper second class, lower second class or third class, but this can vary from degree to degree. A bachelor's degree may be followed by a Master's degree. A candidate who does not hold an Honours degree may be awarded a Master's degree with honours: such a degree usually involves two years study, compared to one year for a Master's degree for a candidate who does have an Honours degree. A candidate who has either a Master's degree or a bachelor's degree with Honours may proceed to a doctoral degree.
Entry to most universities is "open", that is to say that one only needs to meet the minimum requirements in the school-leaving examinations (be it NCEA or Bursary). A greater number of courses at New Zealand universities now have selective admissions, with the University of Auckland offering a large number of selective-entry courses. Mature students usually do not need to meet the academic criteria demanded of students who enter directly from secondary school.
Domestic students will pay fees subsidised by the Government, and the student-paid portion of the fee can be loaned from the Government under the Government's Student Loan Scheme. Weekly stipends can be drawn from the loan for living expenses, or the student can apply for a needs based (on assessment of parental income) "Student Allowance", which does not need to be paid back. "Bonded Merit Scholarships" are also provided by the Government to cover the student-paid portion of fees, however, receipt of the Scholarship requires the recipient to stay in New Zealand for a certain time after graduation (Cancelled as of 2009). The New Zealand Scholarship and the New Zealand University Bursary are awarded to school leavers by a competitive examination and also provide financial support to school-leavers pursuing a university degree but do not entail any requirement to stay in the country after they finish university. International students pay full (non-subsidised) fees and are not eligible for Government financial assistance.
Until 1961 there was only one degree-granting university in New Zealand, the University of New Zealand which had constituent colleges around New Zealand. Now the colleges are independent universities in their own right, and since then three new universities have been created (Auckland University of Technology, Lincoln University and Waikato University).
Universities in New Zealand:
- Auckland University of Technology (Auckland)
- Lincoln University (Lincoln, Canterbury)
- Massey University (Palmerston North, Auckland, Wellington)
- University of Auckland (Auckland)
- University of Canterbury (Christchurch)
- University of Otago (Dunedin) and (Invercargill)
- University of Waikato (Hamilton)
- Victoria University of Wellington (Wellington)
Colleges of education (Teachers' Colleges)
Below is a partial list of historical or existing colleges—specifically those listed  in Acts of Parliament as public (Crown-owned) teacher education providers:
- Auckland College of Education (Auckland)
- Massey University College of Education (Palmerston North)
- Wellington College of Education (Wellington)
- Christchurch College of Education (Christchurch)
- Dunedin College of Education (Dunedin)
See: State sector organisations in New Zealand (current list)
Most colleges of education in New Zealand in the past 30 years have gradually consolidated (for example, Ardmore with Auckland), with the trend in the last 15 years to consider and effect mergers with universities closely allied to them, for example, the Hamilton and Palmerston North colleges amalgamated with Waikato and Massey respectively.
In the 2004–2005 period, the Auckland and Wellington colleges amalgamated with Auckland University and Victoria University respectively. In 2007 the Christchurch College of Education amalgamated with the University of Canterbury. The remaining stand-alone college in Dunedin amalgamated with the University of Otago in January 2007.
The name 'college of education' is protected by Act of Parliament—previously the name 'teachers' college' was protected. Only universities and standalone colleges of education may use this title. Thus, privately owned institutions (which are not listed in Acts) providing teacher education such as the Bethlehem Institute(Tauranga) and New Zealand Graduate School of Education (Christchurch) must use alternative names.
For a list of polytechnics, see: state sector organisations in New Zealand
Private Training Establishments
Private Training Establishments have been around for many years in New Zealand. Their purpose is to provide training often not available in the public sector. They also provide training to special needs groups or in time frames that support different learner needs. Private Trainers like the Institute of Applied Learning in Otahuhu Auckland has provided domestic learners and international learners courses in Computing, Hospitality, Business, Health Care and Contact Centre for over 17 years. The tutors are generally drawn from industry rather than academia and the goal for most learners is employment quickly. A list of providers is available on NZQA and TEC websites. Private trainers have the ability to respond quickly to the changing needs of industry. Most providers provide courses that are NZQA accredited and many offer certificates, diplomas and degrees. Private trainers offer an alternative to state schools and many learners prefer the supportive environment of most private trainers
Primary and secondary
Government directly provides all or most of the funding for state and "integrated schools" and about 25% of the funding for private schools. A significant portion of the extra funding is available, dependent on the decile rating,with low decile schools receiving the greatest amount per enrolled child and high decile schools getting the least.<MOE booklet to Education Agents 2008>As from 2010 the school rolls will be checked more often so that schools that expel a large number of children will have that money deducted.<NZ Herald>Schools cannot claim for students on exchange programmes.<MOE booklet "Guidance for schools-exchange students > Schools also ask for a voluntary donation from parents, informally known as "school fees". This may range from $40 per child up to $800 per child in high decile schools.The payment of this fee varies widely according to how parents perceive the school. Typically parents will outlay $500–$1000 per year for uniforms, field trips, social events, sporting equipment and stationery at State funded schools.
For tertiary education
Funding for tertiary education in New Zealand is through a combination of government subsidies and student fees. The government funds approved courses by a tuition grant based on the number of enrolled students in each course and the amount of study time each course requires. Courses are rated on an equivalent full-time Student (EFTS) basis. Students enrolled in courses can access Student Loans and Student Allowances to assist with fees and living costs.
Funding for Tertiary Institutions has been criticised recently due to high fees and funding not keeping pace with costs or inflation. Some also point out that high fees are leading to skills shortages in New Zealand as high costs discourage participation and graduating students seek well paying jobs off shore to pay for their student loans debts. As a result, education funding has been undergoing an ongoing review in recent years.
Most tertiary education students rely on some form of state funding to pay for their tuition and living expenses. Mostly, students rely on state provided student loans and allowances. Secondary school students sitting the state run examinations are awarded bursaries and scholarships, depending on their results, that assist in paying some tuition fees. Universities and other funders also provide scholarships or funding grants to promising students, though mostly at a postgraduate level. Some employers will also assist their employees to study (full time or part time) towards a qualification that is relevant to their work. People who receive state welfare benefits and are retraining, or returning to the workforce after raising children, may be eligible for supplementary assistance, however students already in full or part time study are not eligible for most state welfare benefits.
Student Allowances, which are non-refundable grants to students of limited means, are means tested and the weekly amount granted depends on residential and citizenship qualifications, age, location, marital status, dependent children as well as personal, spousal or parental income. The allowance is intended for living expenses, so most students receiving an allowance will still need a student loan to pay for their tuition fees.
The Student Loan Scheme is available to all New Zealand permanent residents and can cover course fees, course related expenses and can also provide a weekly living allowance for full time students. The loan must be repaid at a rate dependent on income and repayments are normally recovered via the income tax system by wage deductions. Low income earners and students in full time study can have the interest on their loans written off.
On 26 July 2005 the Labour Party announced that they would abolish interest on Student Loans, if re-elected at the September election, which they were. From April 2006, the interest component on Student Loans was abolished for students who live in New Zealand.
This has eased pressure on the government from current students. However it has caused resentment from past students many of whom have accumulated large interest loan portions in the years 1992–2006. As stated before many have reluctantly been forced to seek employment overseas in order to pay back their loans, with the UK and Australia gaining benefit from young, educated diaspora.
- History of education in New Zealand
- List of universities in New Zealand
- Environmental education in New Zealand
- New Zealand Qualifications Authority
- ^ 
- ^ "Human development indices". Human Development Reports. 18 December 2008. http://hdr.undp.org/en/media/HDI_2008_EN_Tables.pdf. Retrieved 16 February 2010.
- ^ Home schooling", Ministry of Education website
- ^ NZPA (19 September 2008). "Clark sets 2014 deadline for education to age 18". The New Zealand Herald. http://www.nzherald.co.nz/nz/news/article.cfm?c_id=1&objectid=10533068. Retrieved 22 September 2008.
- ^ a b 
- ^ 
- ^ a b 'Home schooling", Ministry of Education
- ^ "Homeschooling as at 1 July 2010", educationcounts.govt.nz
- ^ "The Home Education Foundation"
- ^ "All resources for: Home schooling", tki.org.nz
- ^ School Roll Return Guidelines, 2006–2008, retrieved 16 January 2011.
- ^ Cooper, Tracey (21 September 2009). "School Year". Choosing the right road. Waikato Times. http://www.stuff.co.nz/waikato-times/features/2885011/Choosing-the-right-road. Retrieved 16 January 2011.
- ^ "PDF Guide to New Zealand schools". Independent schools of New Zealand. http://www.isnz.org.nz/main.cfm?id=2786. Retrieved 16 September 2009.
- edCentre – online gateway to New Zealand education
- Ministry of Education
- Education Review Office
- New Zealand Qualifications Authority
- Tertiary Education Commission
- Home Education Foundation
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