New Zealand education system

Primary and Secondary school Education:

Education in New Zealand from Primary school to Secondary school is free and compulsory for all children aged 5 through 16. The school year usually runs from the end of January to mid-December, and is divided into 04 terms.

  • Primary education starts at Year 1 and continues until Year 8.
  • Secondary education covers Year 9 to 13 (for students aged 13 to 17). There are 420 secondary schools in New Zealand, including:
  1. Public schools (also known as government schools).
  2. Private schools
  3. Integrated schools (Generally they were firstly private schools and then transformed into public schools).

Subjects and educational standards are similar in the private and public schools, the two school systems are intended to prepare students for attaining national qualifications and certificates with the same value.

  • The National Qualifications – National Certificates of Educational Achievement (NCEA)

New Zealand Qualifications Authority (NZQA) manages the National Qualifications Framework for secondary school students in Years 11 to 13. To help students satisfy entry requirements of New Zealand Universities, National Certificates of Educational Achievement (NCEA) includes qualifications (Level 1-3) for the final classes of Secondary Schools. The results are evaluated based on the results during the study time and the exam at the end of school year and applied every year.

Tertiary Education:

School year at universities commences in late February and ends in November with holidays between two semesters. Some universities recruit students for some program according to the semestral system with two intakes a year.

  • National universities:

In New Zealand, there are 08 national universities, which offer Bachelor degree programs with a wide range of many specialities such as Business, Science, Art, Medicine, Technology, Law, Computer, Agriculture, Environment, etc.

  • Colleges and Polytechnics:

21 training institutes in New Zealand are located in cities and towns over the country. Institutes offer training programs with a wide range of specialities from the primary level courses to university degree courses.

  • Foundation studies programs:

Some of the 08 universities in New Zealand offer foundation studies programs to international students. These programs last from 28 weeks to 01 year, including subjects: English, Maths and some other main subjects.

  • Teachers' colleges:

Intended for students who are interested in teaching, Teachers' colleges offer programs of kindergarten education, primary education and secondary education. Some extra courses are taught as a part of these programs. All these colleges also offer special courses designed for trained teachers.

  • Private Universities:

Some private universities provide academic and vocational training programmes. Generally each private university often specializes in a certain discipline, for example, a private university may focus on hospitality or business programs. Entry requirements and study duration  are very diversified at these universities.

For further information about Education system in New Zealand, please visit :

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