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Education system in New Zealand

Know all about the education system in New Zealand


New Zealand education system reflects it’s unique and diverse society which promotes different abilities, talents, ethnic groups, income levels and innovation in learning and development. Rated as one of the best destinations to study abroad for Indian students, it offers excellent academic quality, a diverse range of courses, abundant research opportunities, and a free atmosphere to socialize and collaborate.

The education system is designed in such a manner that it is student-centered, providing the necessary tools and content so that it drives up the skills of the student along predefined lines. Each level is created as an ideal foundation for the next.

Study Levels:

The New Zealand education system is mainly comprised of 3 levels.

  1. Early Childhood Education
  2. Primary and Secondary education
  3. Further Education

Further education is imparted by many universities and higher education institutes across New Zealand. There are also many flexible pathway programs for students to progress from secondary education to university levels. Apart from these institutions, there are many private educational institutions like Polytechnics that impart specific education.

Qualifications framework:


The New Zealand Qualifications Framework (NZQF) is the heart of New Zealand’s education system. All qualifications – both secondary and tertiary – listed on the NZQF come with an assurance of quality that is recognized and trusted worldwide. This framework was one of the first of its type in the world and is administered by the New Zealand Qualifications Authority (NZQA). It is based on defining clear learning outcomes wherein the student across a course can demonstrate similar skills, knowledge, and application of a particular qualification.

Higher Education:

The New Zealand tertiary sector covers private training establishments (PTEs), institutes of technology and polytechnics (ITPs), wananga, universities and workplace training.

These all deliver a variety of educational options, often in flexible ways to meet the needs of adult learners. NZQA acts as a quality assurance body and approves all qualifications for the above institutions, apart from universities.

Tertiary education providers offer courses that range from transition (school to work) programs, through to postgraduate study and research. There are no fixed divisions between the types of courses offered by each sort of provider. The focus is on their ability to offer education to the required quality standards, rather than based on their type.

Higher, degree-level education is mainly offered at universities. Programs are research-led and generally academic, as distinct from vocational.

Vocational degree level education is offered at ITPs, wänanga and a few larger PTEs. Such degrees tend to be specific and applied.

PTEs’ programmes are mostly in specific vocational niches at certificate and diploma level.

Pathway Programs

A great way for international students to enter higher-level education is through pathway programs. These include foundation courses and English language programs that offer additional support or assistance international students may require to get accustomed to a new way of learning.

Fee Structure

New Zealand offers an array of value-for-money educational programs. The tuition fee varies on the type of course and its duration since each institution has its fee bracket. As with most other countries, medicine, engineering and MBA programs can be slightly more expensive than other courses.

To cover tuition fees, you will usually need somewhere between NZ$ 18,000 and NZ$35,000 a year.

Learn more about the cost of studying in New Zealand.

Scholarships in New Zealand

You can apply for certain financial aids available. These may include scholarships, grants, bursaries, and fellowships. These aids are provided by the government as well as private institutions. Since a lot of students apply to these scholarships, we recommended you to apply in advance to beat competition.

Learn about the scholarships available for Indian students in New Zealand.

Teaching Methodology

Offering a hands-on approach for teaching, the faculty members do not hesitate to mould their teaching approach to suit the needs of their students. Unlike various other western countries where classroom size is generally big, New Zealand’s teachers prefer teaching students in small groups and engage students via various class activities. The teaching happens in interactive classrooms where students are expected to take part in classroom discussions, group activities, presentations, and debates. The smaller classroom size helps the lecturer deliver personalized learning to each individual.

Academic year


New Zealand offers two intakes under its higher education programs – July and February. Admissions for some courses in selected colleges or universities may also be available in March, April, and May while pathway programs may have additional dates available. Always plan for available intakes in your course of preference.

Read about upcoming intakes in New Zealand.

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