Understanding the Education System to Study in New Zealand

Primary School Education

Schooling is available to children from age 5 and is compulsory from ages 6 to 16.

Primary education starts at Year 1 and continues until Year 8, with Years 7 and 8 mostly offered at either a primary or a separate intermediate school. Most schools teach in English medium, but some schools teach in the Maori medium.

Some schools in New Zealand are Kura Kaupapa Maori in which the principal language of instruction is Maori and education is based on Maori culture and values. Most Kura Kaupapa Maori caters for students from Years 1 to 8, and a few (Wharekura) cater for students up to Year 13.

Secondary School Education

Secondary education system in New Zealand covers Years 9 to 13, (during which students are generally aged 13 to 17). Most secondary students in New Zealand attend Government-funded schools, which are known variously as secondary schools, high schools, colleges or area schools.

The National Certificate of Educational Achievement (NCEA) is the national senior secondary school qualification to study in New Zealand. Students are able to achieve the NCEA at three levels via a wide range of courses and subjects, both within and beyond the traditional school. The three levels of the NCEA correspond to the final three years of secondary schooling (Years 11-13). The student must achieve 80 credits on the National Qualifications Framework, 60 at the level of the certificate and 20 others to gain an NCEA.

Tertiary Education

The tertiary education to study in New Zealand is used to describe all aspects of post-school education and training. There are 36 public tertiary education institutions, including eight universities, twenty-one institutes of technology and polytechnics, four colleges of education, three wananga (Maori tertiary education institutions). There are also 46 industry training organizations, and approximately 895 private training establishments, which include private English language schools, registered by the New Zealand Qualifications Authority. Tertiary education in New Zealand offer courses at widely different levels, from transition programmes to postgraduate study and research.

Technical and Vocational Education

Technical and Vocational Education to study in New Zealand is mainly offered at institutes of technology, polytechnics, private training establishments. Some programmes are also available in secondary schools, wananga, government training establishments, one college of education and several universities.

Higher, or Degree-level Education

Universities usually offer higher, degree-level education, but institutes of technology, polytechnics, wananga and colleges of education, and at some private training establishments also offer higher degree programmes.

Summary: School Education in New Zealand is divided into Primary and secondary education. Post school education is covered by tertiary education. Technical and Vocational Education is offered by institutes of technology, polytechnics, private training establishments. Higher education to study in New Zealand is provided by Universities and other institutes.

Understanding the Education System to Study in Australia

School Education in Australia

School education in Australia covers a range of academic disciplines and vocational courses which prepare the student for university entry, for further training programs or to enter the workforce. The school studies follow a mixed format of directed classroom studies, extensive written assessments, formal examinations and may include common assessment tasks. Depending on course alternatives, as a student studying in Australia might also apply skills, demonstrate understandings, and undertake performance, project, group and field-work activities.

The Senior Secondary Certificate of Education is known by different titles according to the State and Territory issuing authority in that region of Australia.

Australian Vocational Education and Training Qualifications

The qualifications offered to students studying at vocational education and training institutions in Australia are Certificates I-IV, Diploma and Advanced Diploma. They meet national industry standards and will prepare the student for employment in a host of occupations or for further studies.

University Qualifications in Australia

Associate Degree offered to students is a two year qualification following year 12 or equivalent, or Certificate III or IV. It is a shorter higher education qualification offering an exit point at the sub-degree level, or a fully articulated pathway into the Bachelor Degree for further in-depth study and professional preparation, or articulation into an Advanced Diploma for specialist industry competencies.

The Bachelor degree offered to students to study in Australia is the fundamental university qualification and is the basic qualification for entry to the professions. Some professions may require additional vocational qualifications as a condition of entry.

Graduate Certificates offered to students is of 6 month duration which typically involves broadening individual skills already gained in an undergraduate program, or developing vocational knowledge and skills in a new professional area.

Graduate Diplomas offered to students to study in Austrailia is usually of 12 months duration to broaden individual skills obtained in an undergraduate program or develops vocational knowledge and skills in a new professional area. This qualification can also be described as further specialisation within a systematic and coherent body of knowledge.

The Masters Degree offered to students involves enhancing specific professional or vocational skills. The Masters Degree is typically gained by research or coursework or a combination. Study at master level involves acquiring in-depth understanding of a specific area of knowledge usually by independent research.

A Masters Degree takes either one year after a Bachelor Degree with honours or two years after a Bachelor Degree.

The Doctoral Degree offered to students is the highest award offered by Australian universities as per the Australian education system and takes typically 3 years to complete. Although it is a research degree, some programs may have a course work component. There are three parts to a Doctoral Degree:

Part one involves searching review of the literature, experimentation or other systemic approach to a body of knowledge.

Part two involves an original research project resulting in a significant contribution to knowledge and understanding and/or the application of knowledge within a discipline or field of study.

Part three involves a substantial and well-ordered thesis, demonstrating the relationship of the research to the broader framework of the discipline or field of study.

The study in Australia is evolved and has a variety of options for students to study. School Education in Australia caters to primary and secondary schooling. Australian Vocational Education and Training Qualifications give Certificates I-IV, Diploma and Advanced Diploma to students. University Qualifications in Australia offer Associate Degree, The Bachelor degree, Masters Degree and Doctoral Degree.

What We Need To Do To Save The American Educational System Part Three

To bring success to the American Educational System requires a rigorous non-political and non-union in- depth study lasting two to three years. Such a study needs to be done globally, state by state, town by town, city by city, and school system by school system. There are no overnight fixes, getting rid of teachers, pouring more money into the system doesn’t solve the problems. Certainly, creating school systems within schools systems with relative little supervision compounds the issues. Standardized testing does nothing other than cost the local school systems millions and millions of dollars. Going electronic does not insure success. What then, is the real challenge?

The challenge is to identify, honestly, the specific areas of failure. To do this America must be open, to envision how it can assure a higher level of student success in its schools, and hopefully, assure their chances of becoming productive citizens. Can we, as a nation, do this? We can and we must.

We need to make sure that we do not continue to spend time on unproven experimentation, change in school organization patterns, inadequate teacher preparation, and poorly constructed teacher-evaluation tools. The avoid the pitfall of repetition, the following process is recommended.

• Prioritize that which is most important in the continuation of our culture. (What are schools supposed to do?)
• Analyze the failure of those aspects of the education system that have denied the achievement of the prioritized list. (Why don’t students learn to read and to read with comprehension?)
• Recommend solutions that are long-range with built-in cyclic re-evaluation.
• Prioritize again with emphasis on those areas within the educational community that are most important to work on.

An excellent example of the use of failure analysis comes to us from NTSB. Whenever an airplane crashes every aspect of the involved plane, pilots, ground crews, service, fuel, weather, and mechanics receive painstaking analysis. Piece by piece the parts are examined. It is this type of scrutiny the American Educational System must undergo if achievable solutions are the goal.

What is the fundamental road block to this approach? It’s our social system. As a society, we discourage this kind of painstaking examination. No one likes to be put under the microscope. No one likes to admit failure. We, as a nation, have a definite mind-set to put mistakes behind us, to move on. Move on? To what? More failures?

Norman W Wilson, PhD