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.

Alberta’s Education system

In Canada, each Province and Territory has jurisdiction over its own education system. Public education is free to all Canadian citizens and permanent residents aged less than 20 years.
Parents are responsible for providing school supplies, school uniforms are not worn but Band and Sports uniforms are also the parent’s responsibility. In Alberta, students are legally required to attend school between the ages of 6 and 16 years.

It is extremely important that you find out when the registration period is to ensure that your kids get the places at the schools you want. The registration normally takes place several months before the year starts (I.E. register in Feb. for September). Contact the particular school to find out the precise details. There may well be an administration fee charged to register your child!
There are a number of different types of schooling options available for your child’s education in Alberta. The choices are: Public, French immersion, Catholic, Francophone, Charter and Private Schools. Parents also have the option of home schooling their children.

Each school has its own attendance area; school boards are required to provide transportation for students that live more than 2.4 kilometers away. There may be a charge for this which you can expect to have to pay before the start of each school year. Your child does not have to enroll in the school in your attendance area as you may choose to enroll them elsewhere. However, the parents would then be responsible for transportation to and from school. Also, a percentage of the local taxes that every resident has to pay are paid to the school system of your choice (catholic, public etc.) in your catchment area.

The school year usually runs from the beginning of September through to June 30th. However, there may be variations to this from system to system. Most schools close down for the months of July and August as well as breaks at Christmas and Easter.

Preschool and Kindergarten

Schooling can start as early as 3 years old, at preschool. These tend to be privately run; therefore, you have to pay for them. Most children will attend pre-school until they are five years old.

Children’s Services set standards for day care, nursery schools, drop in centers and family day homes. This ensures the health and safety and well-being of the children that attend these facilities.

Kindergarten generally starts at the age of 5 years, although some school boards have different age cut off dates. The student will attend 5 days of either morning or afternoon classes. Kindergarten has 400 instructional hours per year. It is normally part of the school that your child will attend in Grade 1 and is good preparation for full time school.

If your kid(s) are around this age be sure to find out about vaccinations. There will be standard Vaccinations offered that schools MAY insist on being up to date before they start school. Check with your chosen school for more details.

This age or younger is a very good time to think about saving for your child’s post secondary education. Fees for post secondary education in Alberta are very expensive. There is a savings plan available in which the Federal Government will input a percentage of your contributions. These are called Registered Education Savings Plan (RESP).

Elementary and High School

Children start Elementary school at the age of 6 years (Grade 1) and stay there until they are 12 years old(Grade 6). There are certain subjects that are required in these grades; these include Language Arts, Math, Science, Social Studies, Art and Music, Health and Physical Education. There are also optional courses available; these vary from school to school.

Some school boards have a middle school for grades 5 to 8. If there is no middle school structure the children move on to junior high for Grades 7 to 9. (12 to 15 years)

Finally, there is Senior high school; this is for grades 10 – 12(15 – 18 years old). To graduate from high school, students need to achieve 100 credits. Credits are given for different subjects and courses that the student can take.
High schools also offer many different choices for students to help them to prepare for further education in Alberta.

Schools do not have to teach a second language, however many schools offer various language courses. Students are encouraged to learn French, Canada’s other official language. Depending on the school there are many other second language courses available.

There are three types of language courses offered:

Immersion – this is where French is mainly used during the school day to teach the pupils. At elementary level it is used for 50 – 100 % of the day and 40 – 80% at the secondary level. You do not have to have French speaking parents to enroll in French immersion.

Bi-lingual – in which the language is used 25-50% of the time.

Second language programs – in which a particular language is taught as a course.

Transfer from abroad

Students who are new to education in Alberta and are from a foreign (non Canadian curriculum) school system should submit an official statement of previous standing, such as a report card to the school they want to enroll in. You should also have the previous school records and transcripts, copies of course outlines and content.

After considering a number of factors including the students age, records and test results they will be placed in the appropriate grade.

Post Secondary Education

Post Secondary education in Alberta has a wide variety of institutes to choose from:

There are publicly funded colleges which are located at many different places. The courses that these colleges offer include academic upgrading, job readiness, apprenticeship certificate and diplomas.

The two main technical institutions of Alberta are North Alberta Institute of Technology (NAIT) which is located in Edmonton and South Alberta Institute of Alberta (SAIT) located in Calgary offer certificate, diploma’s, apprenticeship and continuing education in Alberta that are tailored to workplace requirements.

Three campus based universities, University of Alberta (Edmonton), University of Calgary and the University of Lethbridge and one distance learning university, the University of Athabasca. There are also seven private colleges that are accredited to grant degrees at University level.
Another type of course available is the Alberta Apprenticeship and Industry Training System which is an industry and government partnership that ensures a highly skilled workforce in 54 designated trades. There are also scholarships available in this system.

Student loans, numbers and permits

As with all of Canada, the Post Secondary education in Alberta is NOT free. Several years ago, the Canadian Government launched Registered Education Savings Plans (RESP’s) to help parents save for their children’s future education in Alberta. These are great if you start them early, but if your kids are about to start when you land it is too late.

In that case, there are interest free student loans available if you attend a designated post secondary institute full time. These are only available to Canadian citizens or permanent residents. There are two sources of student loans for education in Alberta – the Government of Canada and the Government of Alberta.

To be able to enroll in any school or post secondary institute in Alberta or to apply for a student loan you must firstly apply for an Alberta Student Number.

New Orleans Education Post-Katrina

Education in the city of New Orleans has changed a great deal since hurricane Katrina took place in August of 2005. New Orleans education now revolves around the concept of charter schools. These schools were established out a need that arose in the wake of the natural tragedy. To date they have been shown to be of benefit to the children and adolescents being educating in them.

There is currently a move in the New Orleans Public Schools system to decentralize power that was previously held by the school board’s central bureaucracy before Katrina and give it to certain school boards and individual school principals. These reforms will make it possible for the charter schools to make many of their own decisions and to allow the parents of children attending public schools to enroll them in any school they wish to in the district. It is worth mentioning that at the present time the majority of public school students in the city of New Orleans attend these charters schools. New Orleans education has undergone a tremendous change in the post-Katrina days out of necessity. New Orleans is the only city in the United States where public charters dominate the educational system.

In attempting to understand the New Orleans education system in the wake of the hurricane that changed the way the citizens live their lives, it is important to understand what these schools are all about. Let us take a look at that now.

Charter schools have been garnering a great deal of attention in the past few years however they are not a brand new concept. These types of schools which are privately governed have been around for the past two decades. According to a survey published in 2009 there are more than 4,900 charter schools throughout the nation and as many as 1.5 million students are in attendance at these schools.

Charter schools resemble a type of educational reform that has not only affected New Orleans education but the education in other areas of the country as well. The state of California has chosen to embrace this new form of schooling as well. Charter schools offer a viable alternative to educating students and making sure that they obtain the best education that they possibly can.

Public charters are funded in much the same ways that public schools are funded. The difference is that charter schools are not governed by the state but in a private manner. While conventional public schools do not have to worry about being closed down if they do not yield successful results in their academics and teaching process, charter schools do have this worry placed on their shoulders from the start. Every charter school that opens its doors must be able to prove that it is successful and that its students are learning properly and learning well in order to be able to maintain their charter.

These schools are for all grades from kindergarten up to grade 12. While they are publicly funded they are open to accept private donations in the same way that public schools are. Every school charter that is established in the New Orleans educational system and elsewhere is free from some of the constraints placed on public schools. However there is a level of accountability inherent in every charter that specific results must be obtained in order for the charter to remain in place. A charter school is open to anyone who wishes to attend and these schools are not permitted to charge students fees to obtain their schooling. Be aware that these new types of schools are a component of the public education system.