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2021-02-17 00:00:37

Study in New Zealand: primary, secondary, higher education

Study in New Zealand: primary, secondary, higher education

Providing a good education for all is part of New Zealand government vision of giving everyone an equal chance. The state is confidently among the top 20 best countries in the world in terms of school quality according to the OECD in 2016. All eight universities ranked in the top 500 of the 2016/17 QS World University Rankings, with over 70% of expat parents surveyed by HSBC in 2015 note that children have become more confident and versatile after living and studying in New Zealand for a year. Here, academic, practical achievements are appreciated, young people are encouraged to ask questions - to see the big picture, to open up a new perspective on things.

The main goal is the formation of confident young people who are actively involved in life, ready for adulthood. Add to this a safe learning environment, outdoor recreation, wide open spaces and you have a New Zealand recipe for nurturing resourceful, confident young people ready to conquer the world.

Early childhood care and education in New Zealand

Preschool education is focused on children under 5 years old and provides education, care for children before they go to primary school. Preschool education is optional.

For three- and four-year-old children, the first 20 hours / week. fully funded by the state, preschool education is not divided into semesters, institutions operate during school holidays.

There are more than 5,000 preschool institutions throughout the country, which are divided into two main groups:

  • Under the guidance of a teacher (kindergartens, educational services, nursing, home services, game groups of a correspondence school).
  • Under the guidance of parents , when parents / family / guardians teach children, take care of them (play centers, Kōhanga Reo - centers serving young children in a Maori cultural environment).

New Zealand schooling

All children 6-16 years old must attend school or be educated at home, most children go to school from the age of 5. By law, students must be enrolled in school or homeschooled before age 6 and cannot drop out of school until age 16.

The structure of the school system

Schooling takes 13 years and is divided into 3 levels - primary, secondary, and higher.

  • Primary - from 1 to 6 grades
  • Middle - grades 7-8
  • Senior - grades 9-13.

A child can register as a "home" student if they:

  • Resident or Permanent Resident of New Zealand
  • New Zealand Citizen (including Tokelauans, Cook Islands, Niueans)
  • Holder of a student visa.

Eligibility for New Zealand Schools

Some schools allow new applicants to start their studies anytime after their fifth birthday. Other schools use a system called Cohort Entry - children enter school in groups at the start of the school semester. Which semester they start with depends on how close their birthday is to the middle of the semester.

If the child has been attending school for some time, you can enroll him at any time of the year. He will study with children of his own age: for example, a 10-year-old child will be transferred to grade 5 or 6 along with other 10-year-olds.

What are the schools of New Zealand

New Zealand school sizes vary. Most schools have between 100 and 2000 students. New Zealand students enjoy personal attention from teachers. Teaching involves a balance of practical, theoretical learning, teachers encourage students to think creatively, independently, analytically.

How the New Zealand school system works

New Zealand schools are equipped with computers, the Internet and other technologies, there is a lot of space for outdoor games, sports, their own playgrounds are open, and sometimes a pool. Cultural events are held, teachers organize many different activities outside of school hours, train sports teams, lead theater circles and school music groups.

Educational travel opportunities are available that allow you to explore and experience New Zealand's nature.

Discipline in schools

Children feel comfortable and safe: in educational institutions it is forbidden to use physical force to punish a child, while a parent can use force to prevent harm to a child. School punishments usually include extra homework or after-school activities to complete assignments under the supervision of a teacher.

School types and costs in New Zealand

There are 3 types of schools here:

  • State funded by the government. Most children attend public schools, where education for citizens under 19 is free. But parents pay for school uniforms, office supplies, pay for exams + some costs associated with the course, some extracurricular activities.
  • State integrated ones are partially funded by the state and can charge fees. The amount is usually around $ 1,500 NZD per year. About 10% of students study here, educational institutions may belong to a certain religious denomination (for example, Catholic) or use special teaching methods (Steiner schools, Montessori schools).
  • Private schools charge a set fee per semester or year, less than 5% of children attend them. Some private schools accept boys and girls (coeducational), others only boys or girls. Some private schools provide boarding services. The payment is usually about $ 20,000 NZD per year.

Home schooling

Home education is available in New Zealand. Parents and guardians who wish to homeschool their child must obtain permission from the local department of the Ministry of Education.

Class schedule and vacations

The school day usually starts at 9 am and ends at 3 pm or 3:30 pm.

The school year begins in January, with 4 quarters of the year, with two week breaks in between and a 6 week summer break at the end of the year.


  1. End of January-beginning of April + two-week break.
  2. From May to early July + two-week break.
  3. End of July-end of September + two-week break.
  4. Mid-October to mid-December + 6 week summer break.

Most New Zealand schools are grouped into “zone” districts: children usually attend school in the zone where they live.

Higher education

Higher education in New Zealand is not limited to universities, institutes of technology or polytechnics. Educational institutions of the country present the following program options:

  • Professional training - mastering a certain profession
  • Apprenticeship - an opportunity to learn from an expert while on the job
  • Training while working .

8 New Zealand universities are included in the Times Higher Education World University Rankings. The most prestigious university in New Zealand is the University of Auckland , which is ranked 147th.

Top Universities in New Zealand

University of Auckland

Founded in 1883, the University of Auckland is New Zealand's largest and most prestigious university. More than a quarter of students come here from outside New Zealand - since 2016, Auckland has required students to take an Academic English proficiency test before entering undergraduate courses.

Dr. Siouxe Wiles' team in Oakland discovered a unique way to combat antibiotic resistance: Scientists took the genes of fireflies and placed them in microbes so that they could determine when they died after the lights went out.

Alumni of Auckland: HSBC Chairman Vincent Cheng, 37th New Zealand Prime Minister Helen Clark, Oscar-winning screenwriter Philip Boyens.

University of Otago

The University of Otago's vast grounds and opulent Scottish architecture have created its well-deserved reputation as one of the most beautiful university campuses. Otago, founded in 1869 on the southeast coast of the South Island, is New Zealand's oldest university. The Center has a research atmosphere, excelling in the medical sciences, offering undergraduate, graduate and doctoral programs. Outside the Dunedin campus, Otago has institutes of health sciences in Christchurch and Wellington. Since 1904, Otago has awarded Rhodes Fellowships to a select group of New Zealand alumni.

Graduates: medical researcher Muriel Bell, mountaineer Christine Jensen Burke, astrophysicist Mazlan Othman.

Auckland University of Technology

Auckland University of Technology was founded on January 1, 2000, when the former technical college received university status.

The university is located in 3 campuses, of which the city is the largest, and you can get to the South and North by a shuttle bus.

The student association of the university publishes the Debate magazine every two weeks, the student association supports more than 40 affiliated clubs and organizes concerts, comedy shows, parties, festivals, and other events.

University of Canterbury

The University of Canterbury is located in the center of Christchurch: the city was badly damaged by the 2011 earthquake, so a special reconstruction program was undertaken to minimize the damage. Since 2013, the university has an International College that helps students adapt to studying in New Zealand. It offers a Certificate of Completion in English and Academic Literacy.

The university founded the first art school in New Zealand, which continues to flourish today. There is strong competition for places on the Bachelor of Fine Arts course, with art galleries and workshops on site.

University of Canterbury alumni: 2013 Booker Prize winner Eleanor Catton, Olympic Gold Medalist rower Nathan Cohen and Ernest Rutherford, founder of nuclear physics.

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Egor Eremeev
Current material has been prepared by Egor Eremeev
Education: Westminster University (Business & Management), London.
Egor studied and lived in the UK for 8 years and graduated from the university of Westminster. He is currently the co-founder and the director of business development at Smapse Education and personally visits foreign schools and universities, interviews students studying in those institutions.
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