The Education System Of New Zealand – A Holistic View

New Zealand (or Aotearoa, the Maori name for New Zealand) situated south-east of Australia in the South Pacific Ocean, is famous mainly for two reasons – amazing scenery and quality education. It is a wonderful place for tourism, and also a superb destination for study. This feature is corroborated by thousands of international students from various countries like South East Asia, the UK, North Asia, Japan, South America, India and Australia, and many others.

Travel to New Zealand is easy, with many cities offering direct flights. The two main international airports are in Auckland and Christchurch. Wellington, New Zealand’s capital city is also connected to Australia.

New Zealand has an excellent reputation as a place where education is synonymous with quality, offering a safe learning environment and excellent study opportunities. Various types of courses are available for academic, professional and vocational studies at universities, polytechnics, colleges of education, secondary schools and private training establishments. The education system of New Zealand provides a progressive education to students, thus helping them in achieving a leading position in the global scenario. Many New Zealanders are working internationally and are involved in collaborative research with prestigious universities world wide. Students can enroll on short-term course such as English language programs, secondary schools for ultimately enrolment into tertiary institutions. They can also enroll in vocational courses and degree programs.

There are many reasons for choosing New Zealand over others. High standards of education, internationally recognized qualifications, excellent facilities and study support for international students are to name a few. Students have access to more advanced technology than they could wish for. New Zealand produces top graduates who can take their place with confidence in the international arena. Also, English being the everyday language of New Zealanders (English and Maori are the two official languages), it proves to be a big help to international students, specially for those who don’t have English as a native language in their home country. Since the education programs and degrees are based on the British education system and are well recognized internationally, it is possible to do an undergraduate degree in New Zealand and a post-graduate degree in another English-speaking country. Foreign students are accepted at all levels of learning and there is a wide variety of subjects to choose from.

The cities are quiet, clean and beautiful and are ideal for studying in. The cost of living and education is not high when you compare it to other places with the same standard of education. It is not difficult to obtain a visa and the country is stable and safe. The climate is relatively mild, wet winters and warm, dry summers. The weather can also change dramatically and very quickly, so that people joke about experiencing “four seasons in one day”. The weather varies a lot between different geographical regions. Since New Zealanders are well-traveled and have a great interest in people from other cultures, international students can acclimatize much sooner than they would in other countries. Students from all corners of the globe studying and socializing together also help them in feeling at ease.

A Code Of Practice, operated by the Ministry of Education, provides a framework for looking after international students. It covers pastoral care, accommodation and provision of information. All members of Education Tauranga are signatories to this code. Schooling is compulsory in New Zealand for all children from their sixth until sixteenth birthday. Schooling is free at state (government funded) schools until the age of 19. There are 10 levels of study in New Zealand schools and universities. The lowest level is a Certificate and the highest is a Doctoral degree. Each level is more complex than the one below it. These are the names of qualifications and their levels: . Levels 1 to 4 – Certificates . Levels 5 and 6 – Diplomas . Level 7 – Bachelors degrees and Graduate Diplomas . Level 8 – Postgraduate Certificates and Diplomas, and Bachelors degrees with Honors . Level 9 – Masters degrees, and . Level 10 – Doctoral degrees. There are eight national universities offering degree programs at undergraduate and postgraduate levels in academic and professional studies.

All universities offer a broad spectrum of subjects for degrees in commerce, science and the arts. Each university has also developed its own specialist subjects, such as technology, engineering, computer studies, medicine, agriculture and environmental studies. There are 20 Polytechnics and Institutes of Technology. These provide education and training at tertiary levels ranging from introductory studies through to full degree programs. Specialized training for teachers is available at Colleges of Education. Additional university studies may be undertaken as part of the courses. All colleges offer advanced courses for trained teachers. There is a comprehensive system of distance education, providing courses similar to those in conventional New Zealand educational institutions. There are also private (i.e. not state-funded) tertiary institutes and training providers, including over 100 English language schools.

English language is one thing about which international students have to take special care. It is especially applicable for those who are not well-versed in English. The English language requirements for international students are strict in most tertiary institutions. IELTS (International English Language Testing System), is used at most tertiary institutions in the United Kingdom, Australia, New Zealand and Canada and increasingly used in the United States too. It assesses the ability to read, write, speak and listen in English. Care should be taken to find out what standard of English is exactly needed for the course chosen for study. But it’s also true that most of the universities offer English language tuition for students who are already enrolled and also to those who want to study there.

Even though ample choices are available in respect to institutes and courses, it is important to choose an institution according to the field of specialization and the institution’s reputation in that field.

One point worth mentioning is the Quarantine regulations. The Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry enforces very strict quarantine requirements in order to protect New Zealand’s agricultural, horticultural and forestry industries. Live animals or plants, or animal or plant products, including seeds, or perishable food, are not allowed into the country. It’s a good idea to follow these regulations to avoid unpleasant situations.

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