The school system is designed according to a
British model and it has been compulsory to attend
school since 1877. Today, compulsory schooling for
children between six and 16 years of age prevails.
Almost everyone starts school at the age of
five and most go to school for 13 years.
Many students attend a school near where they live.
Schools generally have to guarantee a place for the
children living in their catchment areas. The school is
free of charge, but parents often have to pay various
Country facts of New Zealand, including geography profile, population statistics, and business data.
The individual schools have great responsibility for
the content of the education and the distribution of the
school's resources. In the school boards,
representatives of the students' parents have a great
influence. Religious instruction is optional. Several
former private schools have been incorporated into the
state school system. The vast majority of these
so-called state-integrated schools are Catholic. There
are also private schools where tuition is charged.
The Maoris have had the right to attend school for
over 100 years, but for a long time no account was taken
of their culture and language. Today, all children in
the low school stage learn something about Maori culture
and history and in more and more schools you can choose
to read the Maori language. During the 1980s, schools,
kura koopapa maori, were set up with teaching only in
this language. Moorish culture and history can also be
studied at university level. Few Maori children go on to
higher education and still spend an average of fewer
years in school than other New Zealand children.
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There are eight state universities, as well as
several teacher colleges and about 20 technical
institutes. Auckland University is the largest, and
Otaga University (in Dunedin on the South Island) the
oldest. The universities are allocated grants in
proportion to the number of students and the courses
they read. The Government has prioritized higher
education, for example through special investments in
Many students are referred to take special student
loans. Students pay about a third of the study costs
themselves. The study funding system has led to many
students receiving high debts that they find difficult
to repay, and educated New Zealanders have left the
country for better paid jobs abroad. The criticism of
the expensive student loans has led to former students
living in New Zealand now having to pay interest on
their student loans.
In the mid-2010s, the government allocated 18 percent
of government spending to the education sector.
FACTS - EDUCATION
Proportion of children starting primary
99.1 percent (2017)
Number of pupils per teacher in primary
Public expenditure on education as a
percentage of GDP
18.3 percent (2016)
Public expenditure on education as a
percentage of the state budget
18.3 percent (2016)
Parliament adopts legislation to reduce child
Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern presented a bill on
combating child poverty in January 2018. Now all parties
support the law, with only one MP voting against. The
law establishes how poverty among children should be
measured and sets goals for how it is to be combated.
Record high increase in minimum wage
From April 2019, the minimum wage will be raised from
$ 16.50 to $ 17.70 per hour. Over two hundred thousand
workers will benefit from the increase in the minimum
wage, which is the highest single increase to date. The
Labor-led coalition government promised when it took
office in 2017 to raise the minimum wage from $ 15.75 to
$ 20 in 2021.
Over 100,000 cows will be thinned out
The government and those responsible for agriculture
have decided to have 126,000 cows killed to stop
Mycoplasma bovis disease. It can, among other things,
cause respiratory tract infections in cows. New Zealand
is the first country in the world to carry out a mass
slaughter to try to eradicate the disease.
The government is investing in welfare in the first
The government presents a budget in which over 4
billion New Zealand dollars are to be spent on extra
health care investments, including hospital renovations.
The government also wants to give extra money, 1.6
billion New Zealand dollars, to the education sector to,
among other things, recruit new teachers.
New Zealand stops oil and gas drilling at sea
As a way to further protect the climate and to live
up to commitments in the climate agreement, the
government announces that it will put a stop to
exploration for oil and gas at sea. However, the
drilling already underway will not be affected.
Pacific free trade agreement clear
New Zealand, together with ten other countries, signs
the Free Trade Agreement (CPTPP) (Comprehensive and
Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Parthership).
The agreement is also called TPP-11 and is a slightly
revised version of TPP (see Foreign Trade). The changes
are a result of the US withdrawing from the TPP before
it came into force. The CPTPP is presented as a counter
to the anti-free-trade policy pursued by US President
New leaders for the Nationalist Party
Simon Bridges becomes new leader of the Nationalist
Party. The 41-year-old Bridges is Maori as is the new
deputy leader Paula Bennet.
Investigation of abuse against cared for children
A so-called royal commission is set up by the
government to investigate whether abuses have been
committed against children and young people in state
orphanages, hospitals, youth prisons etc.. The period to
be examined by the Commission is 1950-1999. Interior
Minister Tracey Martin says the investigation will not
least focus on how Maoris, which made up a large
proportion of the children who have been taken care of,
have been affected.
Prime Minister Ardern is expecting children
Jacinda Ardern announces on social media that she
will have children in June. She will become the second
female head of state ever, after Pakistan's Benazir
Bhutto 1990, who gives birth to children while she is
prime minister. During the six weeks she will be on
parental leave, the Deputy Prime Minister, NZF leader
Winston Peters, will take over the post of head of