Features of education in New Zealand

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  1. New Zealand is known for its efficient education system, one of the best in the world. To date, the country boasts a high GDP and solid investments in education – 6.3% of GDP, it is among the top 10 countries in the world in terms of living standards. Here is the lowest percentage of corruption, animals, insects and plants dangerous to humans are completely absent, which makes it attractive for living and tourism.

Affordable education in New Zealand is part of a government program that is based on providing all residents with equal opportunities. According to the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), New Zealand is in the top 20 best countries in the world for the quality of education in secondary schools.

New Zealand’s education system fully reflects the uniqueness of its society: high tolerance towards people with different abilities and abilities, religious beliefs, nationalities, income levels and ideas.

Preschool education

New Zealanders believe that a child’s education begins from the moment he is born. Pre-primary education is not compulsory, but according to the New Zealand Ministry of Education, 96.8% of children attend some kind of pre-school.

Early childhood education in New Zealand costs up to NZD 320 per week (NZD 1,280 per month), which is comparable to renting a small apartment. However, for children from three to five years old, the state pays for about 20 hours a week in preschool institutions. Unlike Russian kindergartens, children in New Zealand spend a lot of time outdoors. Many gardens have their own vegetable gardens and living corners. Almost everything is allowed for children: educators here believe that in this way they learn about the world.


In New Zealand, the school period is one of the longest in the world: children go to school from the age of 5, and finish it at 18-19 years old.

Secondary education is divided into three levels:
1. primary school – Primary, from grades 1 to 6;
2. secondary school – Intermediate, from 7th to 8th grade;
3. high school – High School, from 9th to 13th grade.

Here it is customary to take children to school near the house. Many educational institutions have an enrollment system called zoning – where you live, you study there. Therefore, when parents want to send their children, for example, to top schools, the family needs to move to the area to which they belong.

Public Schools

Most schools in New Zealand are public. They offer quality free education to citizens and residents. You only need to pay for school uniforms, textbooks and additional fees for various school activities. A little more than 1,000 NZD comes out a year. For international students, studying in New Zealand public schools will cost an average of 12,000 – 16,000 NZD per year. Usually students who come from other countries live in New Zealand families, and this costs another 280 NZD per week.

There are also state-integrated schools here. Although today they are government funded and teach the New Zealand Curriculum, they have their own values ​​set within a particular philosophy or religious denomination. These schools include Catholic, Anglican, Presbyterian, Montessori and Steiner schools. In them, in addition to the cost of education, books and uniforms, it is necessary to make mandatory contributions: from 1,000 to 2,000 NZD per year.

In New Zealand, much attention is paid to the culture of the indigenous Maori population. The country even has schools called Kura Kaupapa Māori. Education in them is conducted mainly in the Maori language. Thus, the state tries to support the language and culture of the local Maori population.


Schools There are not many private schools in New Zealand. Only 5% of schoolchildren study there. Their main differences from public schools: a smaller number of students per teacher and their own curriculum. The cost for locals is 20,000 – 33,000 NZD per year, for foreigners – from 30,000 to 45,000 NZD per year, accommodation with meals in a school residence will cost them 12,000-15,000 NZD per year.

Career guidance plays an important role in New Zealand schools. Each school has a certified career counselor who has been working with teenagers for several years and helping them choose a university and major.
Applied Bachelor and Postgraduate Diploma Programs

The New Zealand education system is different from the Russian one. There are many programs of higher and higher professional education, the level of applied baccalaureate and Post graduate Diploma programs of post-higher education, which have no analogues in Russia. These programs are available both in public and private colleges and universities, and in state technological institutes.

Private colleges and universities in New Zealand are very popular among local and international students. The main purpose of training in them is considered to be the preparation of specialists necessary for the labor market and the rapid employment of graduates. Here they teach narrow and popular areas, such as hotel and restaurant business, tourism, accounting, management, information technology.

Most private colleges are government accredited by the New Zealand Qualifications Authority and can issue government degrees. The cost of education for international students, on average, ranges from 17,000 NZD to 30,000 NZD per year. For New Zealand students, the state subsidizes up to 70% of the cost of education.

In 2021, major reforms began in the system of state institutes of technology Institutes of Technology and Polytechnics: in order to better manage and distribute the state budget, it is planned to merge 16 large institutes of technology, different in training areas, scattered throughout the country, into one practice-oriented institute.

For admission to applied baccalaureate programs, a Russian certificate of secondary (complete) general education and a document confirming English proficiency at a level of at least IELTS 6.0 is required.

For admission to post-higher education programs, you need a Russian diploma of higher education and confirmation of the level of English proficiency not lower than IELTS 6.5.

The Bachelor Degree undergraduate programs are considered the first stage of higher education. The duration of their studies is 3 years. The exception is the four-year Bachelor with Honors programs. There are no entrance exams for New Zealand universities.

New Zealand’s higher education system is divided into two parts: public – Public, and private – Private Training Establishments PTE. The state system includes 8 universities, Institutes of Technology and Polytechnics, after reorganization – Te Pūkenga.

Over 15 years ago, one of Auckland’s leading public technology institutes, the Unitech Institute of Technology, made an attempt to become a university. It seemed that there were good reasons for this: many programs and directions of the university level, teaching a large number of local and international students. However, the institute never received permission to become a university and use the word “university” in the name.

Private Training Establishments can conduct undergraduate and graduate programs, issue state diplomas, but they cannot be called universities. The New Zealand Qualifications Authority – NZQA (a variant of the Russian Rosportebnadzor) allows the use of the words “Colleges”, “Institutes”, “Schools” in the names for PTE.

An increase in the number of universities in New Zealand, especially private ones, is currently not planned. Therefore, all New Zealand universities are public.

To enter a New Zealand university, an applicant from Russia needs to study for 1 year on a bachelor’s program at a Russian higher education institution or pass the Foundation program – a special university preparation course that includes intensive classes in English and other necessary subjects. The cost of the course varies from 16,000 to 32,000 NZD.

The package of documents for a foreign applicant consists of:
1. notarized copies of the certificate of secondary (complete) general education and the document on completion of the 1st year of the bachelor’s degree;
2. certificate of passing the international IELTS exam;
3. characteristics from teachers;
4. motivation letter.

It is necessary to start preparing and collecting documents in advance. The procedure takes approximately a month.

The cost of studying for international students at universities in undergraduate programs is, on average, from 20,000 to 35,000 NZD per year. Applicants should keep in mind that New Zealand does not have a wide practice of providing scholarships/grants for international students.

Undergraduate international students from New Zealand universities are allowed to work 20 hours per week during their studies and full time during the holidays.

Master’s programs at New Zealand universities are designed for two years and are of two types:
1. Сourse-based (taught) – a regular master’s program;
2. Research-based – research magistracy. For admission to regular master’s programs, a bachelor’s degree from a Russian university is required, and for research master’s programs, work experience in the relevant field (in any country in the world) is required. It is also necessary to speak English at a high level: 6.5 – 7.0 on the IELTS scale.The average cost of master’s programs for an international student in New Zealand is NZD 18,000 – 35,000 per year.

During their studies, undergraduates-foreigners can work full-time.


Doctorate in New Zealand lasts 3-4 years. Before officially enrolling in doctoral studies, students must independently find a professor at the university on the topic of their future dissertation, convince him to become a supervisor and get approval for the research plan. Only after that the university will review the documents and schedule an interview.

The cost of doctoral programs in New Zealand is relatively low – about 10,000 NZD, while many of them are government subsidized.

It is also permitted to work full-time during doctoral studies.


The New Zealand Immigration Service strictly checks all applicants. To obtain a student visa, you must prove that you are not going to violate the conditions of stay, are really focused on studying, have paid for the course and have funds for a year of residence in the country – 15,000 NZD. Otherwise, the immigration service can only approve a limited visa with a mandatory exit from the country after graduation. With it, you can safely go to language courses and prepare for admission to a local university, but it will be forbidden to work in New Zealand.

The approximate cost of obtaining a visa is 290-500 NZD.

Universities in New Zealand

There are only eight universities in New Zealand. Each of them offers a large number of programs, but certain areas are especially in demand * :

University of Auckland University of Auckland) is the most famous university in the country with a strong research base. According to The Times Higher Education ranking, thanks to programs in architecture, business and natural sciences, the university is in 137th place.
Total students: 40,000
Number of international students: 7,000 from 120 countries

University of Otago University of Otago) , located in the city of Dunedin, is known not only for its medical school, but also for programs in economics and business, jurisprudence,teaching.
Total students: 20,000
Number of international students: 2750 from 100 countries

Victoria University of Wellington Victoria University of Wellington) is considered one of the most prestigious universities in New Zealand. People from other countries come here mainly for the sake of two specialties: law and political science.
Total students: 17200
Number of international students: 3500

University of Canterbury University of Canterbury) is located in Christchurch, famous for its engineering school and the Antarctic Research Center, which has its own laboratory at Scott Base Antarctic Station.
Total students: 11,700 Number of international
students: 2,100 from 100 countries

Lincoln University Lincoln University) usually come for programs in agribusiness, food development, viticulture and oenology. But, like all universities, there are programs in economics and business.
Total students: 2300
Number of international students: 950 from 70 countries

New Zealand is home to the University of Waikato University of Waikato) with an advanced research center employing about 20% of all scientists in the country. It was here that new products and technologies were created that are used all over the world today: hypoallergenic milk, a smart voltage indicator for a car battery, and a way to treat wastewater from excess nitrogen.
Total students: 9500
Number of international students: 2100 from 80 countries

Massey University (Massey University) is worth doing for the sake of programs in the natural and human sciences, business. The university also has its own stock exchange for students and an aviation school.
Total students: 35,000
Number of international students: 4200 from 100 countries

Auckland University of Technology (Auckland Technological University) is a popular innovative university. Unlike classical research universities, much attention is paid to programs in tourism, hospitality, design, natural sciences and humanities, and the study of Maori culture.
Total students: 29,000
Number of international students: 5,500 from 150 countries

Employment after training

Not every country allows foreign students to obtain a work visa and immigrate after studying at a university, however, in New Zealand, graduates of educational institutions are granted a work visa for a period of 1 to 3 years.

If a student has graduated from the study program and his profession is on the list of demanded ones, he can apply for a residence permit. Among such professions: engineers, IT-specialists, builders, electronics specialists, chefs, auto mechanics. The average salary is approximately NZD 76,000 per year.

Most applicants from all over the world go to New Zealand to stay here for a long time – they are attracted by the high standard of living, safety and picturesque nature. But diplomas from local universities are also highly rated in other English-speaking countries, so if you wish, after completing your studies, you can leave to work, for example, in Australia, the USA, Canada or Europe.

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