Education System in New Zealand

The tertiary education sector is one of the world’s best. Education in New Zealand is a student-centred pathway providing continuous learning progression and practical training. Quality assurance is a key highlight in the education system. Further to which, New Zealand’s education system reflects their unique and diverse society, welcoming students with different abilities and ethnic groups.

Tertiary education in New Zealand is mainly provided by universities, institutes of technology and polytechnics and private training establishments.

Qualifications framework

The Australian education system is distinguished from many other countries by the Australian Qualifications Framework (AQF). The AQF was established in 1995 and is a national policy that covers qualifications from the tertiary education sector (higher education, vocational education and training) in addition to the school leaving certificate, called the Senior Secondary Certificate of Education.

Universities

New Zealand has 8 state funded universities. Each university offers degrees in a large choice of subjects and has strengths in specialised professional degrees.

All of the universities are well recognised internationally. They work with universities in other countries on research and teaching programmes, and with the business community in New Zealand and overseas on research and development.

Institutes of Technology and Polytechnics

Institutes of technology and polytechnics teach professional and vocational education and training from introductory studies to degrees.

Industry training organisations represent particular industries (for example, agriculture, building and construction, motor trade). Institutes of Technology and Polytechnics offer training and qualifications for those sectors and are funded by the government and industry.

Private training colleges

Private training establishments offer specific vocational courses at certificate and diploma level (for example; travel and tourism).

Assurance of quality and good governance

The New Zealand government has strong quality assurance systems to ensure high-quality education at all levels of the education system, both public and private.

The New Zealand Vice-Chancellors’ Committee (operating as Universities New Zealand) is the statutory body with primary responsibility for the university sector’s quality assurance matters. Universities New Zealand approves degrees and qualifications offered by universities through the Committee on University Academic Programmes. There are two bodies overseeing the quality assurance of universities – Universities NZ’s Committee on University Academic Programmes (CUAP) and the Academic Quality Agency for New Zealand Universities (AQA) established in 1993 by the New Zealand Vice-Chancellors’ Committee as an independent body.

New Zealand Qualifications Authority (NZQA) checks the quality of education provided by non-university tertiary education organisations in New Zealand. All qualifications offered have to be approved by the NZQA. NZQA has rigorous processes to investigate and manage risk.

In order to ensure international students who come to study in New Zealand are well informed, safe and properly cared for by the education providers the New Zealand government has developed the Code of Practice for the Pastoral Care of International Students. The Code of Practice prescribes the required outcomes education providers and their agents need to deliver for their international students.

Programmes and courses

Some of the most popular subjects in New Zealand are; Science, Technology, Business and Management, Engineering, Mathematics, Agriculture, Digital Design, Fashion & Design and Food & Hospitality.

The levels are from Diploma, Degree, Graduate Diploma, Postgraduate Diploma, Masters and PhD. The entry requirement has to be met in order to qualify for entrance for the selected programme and level. Duration of each programme is as follows;

Level of Study Duration
Diploma (Level 5 or Level 6) 2 years
Bachelor Degrees (Level 7) 3 years
Postgraduate Diploma (Level 8) 1 year
Masters (Level 9) 1 year, 18 months and 2 years
PhD (Level 10) 3-4 years

Scholarships

Many scholarships for international students – including PhD scholarships and scholarships for Masters’ degree are offered. The scholarships are based on merits such as previous academic performance, a proven track record of outstanding achievements in sports, competency in English language, etc. Scholarships can range from NZD 5,000 – NZD 10,000 and some institutes offer free accommodation for a stipulated period. International PhD students are eligible for the domestic fee.

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