Education news

New Zealand Education System

Education in New Zealand is a student-centred pathway providing continuous learning progression and choice. You can decide what you want to study and how.

New Zealand is one of the leading countries in providing consistently high-quality education. The education system in New Zealand focuses on different abilities, ethnic groups, religious beliefs, income levels, and ideas of teaching and learning. Students have an opportunity to study continuously and have a wide choice to achieve their goals. The education system in New Zealand incorporates creativity, innovation, collaboration, and excellence in teaching and learning.

There are three primary levels in New Zealand's education system:

New Zealand Childhood Education

The country encompasses over 4000 licensed early learning centres, including kindergartens, care centres, in-home care, Montessori centres, and playgroup & centres. Early childhood education is not compulsory in New Zealand; thus, parents can choose convenient options that suit their lifestyle and income.

According to the Ministry of Education, around 96.8% of children attend early childhood education (ECE) in New Zealand. The cost of services depends on how long the child spends time in day-care, how old the child is, and what type of centre the child attends. Mainly, the attendance costs NZ $ 7-10 per hour. The Government provides a subsidy of 6 free hours a day and 20 hours a week for every child from 3 to 5 years of age, no matter what status the child or parents have. Some centres deliver up to 30 hours free of charge to attract more enrolment.

Each day-care centre has its own specific services, timetables, facilities, and teaching staff qualifications. The best option to find a day-care that suits your requirements is to start searching in advance, because some providers have a waiting list.

Centres offer various facilities, lessons, eating options, nap time, excursions, master classes, and parents' meetings. The daily routine at a day-care is diverse and exciting every single day. The children spend lots of time outdoors and do not have to follow strict discipline or schedule. Most day-cares' vision is to give a choice and freedom that helps to build creative and critical thinking while playing.

New Zealand Primary and Secondary Education

Schooling is compulsory in New Zealand. Children must attend a school from 6 to 16 years of age. If a resident's status is permanent, including a work visa, the education is free between 5 to 19 years, except at private schools. For the rest of the visas, people have to pay around NZ $12,000 per year. At private schools, this cost is for everyone.

When children are ready to go to school (5 or 6 yrs), they start Year 1. Primary schools run up to year 6. The children most commonly move to Intermediate Schools for Years 7-8, and then they continue from Year 9 to Year 13 at Secondary School (commonly called College). Most schools operate in zoning, which means that every residential area relates to one of the schools. Parents can choose a particular school as a single-sex, co-educational, or private school. However, they should meet the requests and requirements of this provider, including being on a waiting list. Most schools offer teaching of the national curriculum and are non-religious. The main focus of the national curriculum includes literacy and numeracy. Students should reach each competency. In Years 11-13, there is a broader range of curriculum and specialisations. Students can achieve the National Certificate of Education Achievement (NCEA) at levels 1, 2 or 3 in Years 11, 12 and 13, respectively.

New Zealand Further Education

The country hosts an extensive range of tertiary education providers:

State Universities

All New Zealand's universities offer a wide range of subjects, research options, and programmes for various qualifications. Each university is recognised by international organisations and work with universities across the world. Seven universities have achieved a high reputation and are ranked in the top 3% worldwide. Local students make up more of the student body than foreigners, which helps a student fit into local culture and community.

The cost varies for citizens, residents, and international students. New Zealanders pay around NZ $7,000 per year, whereas international students pay more depending on their chosen programmes (NZ $25,000-45,000 per year).


State Institutes of Technology & Polytechnics

Sixteen state-owned institutes in New Zealand are operating as ITPs and NZIST providers. All of the institutes offer excellence in teaching and learning by providing a broad range of professional and vocational courses (VET) at all levels. The providers deliver diverse qualifications, such as certificates, undergraduate and postgraduate programmes, and master’s degrees. Institutes focus on teaching New Zealand requirements; thus, students will have a golden opportunity to gain essential skills and apply for further visas or residence status. The cost of programmes for an international student is between NZ $15,000 to 30,000 per year.


Private Institutions

The private establishments provide a wide range of vocational programmes. Teaching includes high-quality and affordable education courses. There are over 550 private institutes in New Zealand, and they are divided into three categories. All providers offer practical skills and knowledge that will extremely helpful in a specific industry. Most students are foreigners, with small numbers of domestic students.

The private institutes 1st category is around NZ $12,000-25,000 per year, whereas 2nd and 3rd are available between NZ $8,000-15,000 per year.


English Language Schools

A significant number of English courses are available for international students in New Zealand. All of them are designed to help foreigners achieve their goals and prepare students for further education, living, or work purposes. Students can start courses at any time they need. The English schools adhere to international standards and are usually internationally accredited. The programmes include general English, Cambridge exam preparation (FCE and CAE), IELTS & TOEFL, academic English, and specific purposes.

The cost for English language programmes depends on the type of provider, duration, and purposes, of course. Students usually pay NZ $150-400 per week.


New Zealand Higher Education Structure

Regardless of qualifications, New Zealand’s educational providers offer high-quality and world-class education. Tertiary Education is presented across ten levels, where each level aims to gain a certain number of Credits (identifying with the number of hours in each subject). Every academic year requires 120 Credits to be passed. To reach a higher level, students should declare achievement from the previous level of education. A study area is required to be in the same or similar subjects.

Certificates Levels 1-4
Credits: 40-240
Duration: 3-24 months
Analogue: initial special education.
Level of knowledge: basic specialised knowledge.
The requirements for students: responsibility and ability to communicate with people.

Diplomas Levels 5-6
Credits: 120-240
Duration: 1-2 years
Analogue: special education.
Level of knowledge: a wide range of practical, technical, and theoretical expertise used in work or study.
The requirements for students: completed secondary education.

Bachelor Degree
Credits: 360-480
Duration: 3-4 years
Analogue: bachelor's degree or speciality.
Level of knowledge: in-depth technical and theoretical knowledge from a professional environment of study.
The requirements for students: completed secondary education and preparatory year, or one year at the University (12 years of study in total).

Graduate Diplomas and Certificates Level 7
Credits: 60-120
Duration: 6-12 months
Analogue: confirmation of qualification, dual qualification, or retraining.
Level of knowledge: skills and knowledge from a new professional field, but based on previous education.
The requirements for students: a completed bachelor's degree or special education and work experience.

Postgraduate Diplomas and Certificates, Bachelor Degree with Honours Level 8
Credits: 60-120
Duration: 6-12 months
Analogue: improvement of existing qualifications or bachelor's degree with distinction.
Level of knowledge: advanced technical and theoretical knowledge.
The requirements for students: a completed bachelor's degree or special education and work experience.

Master's Degree Level 9
Credits: 120-140
Duration: 1-2 years
Analogue: Master or MBA.
Level of knowledge: highly specialized advanced knowledge.
The requirements for students: completed bachelor's degree and work experience.

Doctoral Degree Level 10
Credits: 360-480
Duration: 3-4 years
Analogue: professors and doctors of sciences.
Level of knowledge: the most advanced and scientific expertise in a professional environment.
Acquired skills: rapid comprehension of existing knowledge and practices, as well as the development of new ones.
The requirements for students: completed bachelor's degree and experience in scientific research.

Prospects after Graduation

After completing their chosen form of education, students have a choice to continue studying or to build a career path. The Government offers an opportunity for graduates to stay in New Zealand from 1 to 3 years. If students complete a programme, they can apply for an open work visa (Post Study Work Visa).

Most graduates can find their first job while they have a work visa. Then they can extend that for two years if they have a confirmed work position. Usually, the first job is challenging to find, and it takes time and a competent approach to presenting yourself as a specialist, including the preparation of the necessary documents (CV).

How to apply for study

To start education in New Zealand students have to get an invitation from the chosen provider. A student visa is issued when students provide the necessary documents to Immigration New Zealand. Kiwi Education offers services for students in this process free of charge. It is easy to start, just need to fill out our request for choosing a programme. Managers will be in touch as soon as possible, and they are willing to help with advice on the best options for you and manage all documents for your student visa.