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New Zealand

Education System In New Zealand

This section takes you through the universities Application Procedures step by step. It starts with Examination Procedure right till Assistance Available and Bank Loans. It also gives a helpful guide for Studying in New Zealand, Induction and Orientation and Quality Assurance.

For information about studying in New Zealand and help with your application you can:

Contact an official New Zealand government office through either

These offices have specialist staff who provide relevant advice and information.

Basic Steps for Applying to a New Zealand Institution are:

  • Identifying universities and the course of your interest.
  • Request universities for application forms.
  • Taking various required tests like IELTS, etc.
  • Arranging and preparing essays and recommendation letters.
  • Completing and sending application forms along with required documents.
  • Applying for VISA after obtaining Offer Letter from the college.


How you are assessed will often influence the way you study. The two main types of assessment are examinations and class work. Sometimes your overall mark will be a combination of the two.


These usually involve writing essays or short paragraphs or answering multiple-choice questions. Examinations take place at the end of each semester.

During an exam, students are not permitted to communicate with other people or eat or drink anything except water. Supervisors check everybody’s student ID card. For each exam there are different rules about what kind of dictionaries, books and calculators are allowed. There are also regulations about pre-empting the exam and what to do if you are sick on the exam day.

The student learning centre at your institution will run workshops about exam techniques and dealing with stress.

Class Work

This includes essays, assignments, laboratory reports, spot tests, fieldwork, presentations, special projects and practical work. Active participation in class may also be taken into account.

Take note of the criteria for assignments. An essay must not exceed the word limit given, and must be handed in on or before the deadline, otherwise you may lose marks or fail the course. Your lecturer may approve an official extension of time if you give a reason and do not ask at the last minute. If you are having difficulty with an assignment, discuss it with your tutor or get help from the student learning centre. They want you to succeed and will be happy to help. It is nothing to be embarrassed about. It is a normal part of student life.

Learning to Speak up for Yourself

Some university courses involve relatively few hours per week of formal lessons. A high degree of self-motivation and self-discipline is needed since you will be expected to do a lot of reading so that you can participate in class discussions. Students are expected to have original thoughts and be able to defend them in debate. This is how we show respect for our teachers – by participating fully in the academic process. In some cultures, it is not appropriate to challenge teachers, however it’s an important part of the British-style education system.

New Zealand is in the southern hemisphere, so the academic year is in sync with the calendar year.

Secondary schools have four ten-week terms, beginning in February and ending in mid-December. Some of the qualifications in the last three years of secondary school are dependent on assessment of the whole year’s work, so students enrolling late may not be eligible. There are two-week holiday breaks in April, July and September. Classes are held from Monday to Friday, from approximately 08.45 am to 03.15 pm, with an hour for lunch. Sport and other extra-curricular activities take place after school and on Saturday mornings.

The University year begins in late February or early March with an orientation week, and ends in October. Each university has its own timetable but generally the year is divided into two semesters of about 12 weeks each, with a two-week break during the semester and a six-week break in the middle of the year. The breaks are not always holidays – you may find you need some of the extra time for research and study.

Most courses are “annual” courses, i.e. they last through both semesters, but some courses only take one semester, so that it is sometimes possible to start university study in July. Classes are held from Monday to Friday, with libraries and some other support services open over the weekend. The exam timetable sometimes makes it necessary for exams to take place on a Saturday. Some universities offer “summer school” credit courses from November to February, which lessens the total number of years it takes to complete a degree.

Institute of Technology and Polytechnics classes have two semesters, February to June and July to November, with holidays similar to secondary schools. Some half-year courses may start in July.

Language schools run throughout the year. The courses may be as short as one or two weeks or as long as a whole academic year. Classes run from Monday to Friday. Sometimes there are extra-curricular activities and outings at the weekend.

Daylight Saving

Daylight Saving time starts on the first Sunday in October each year, when the clocks are put forward by one hour, and ends on the third Sunday in March when they are put back one hour.

For language schools, you may be able to enrol as late as a month before the course commences, but you might not be able to get a timely visa. It is best to start the application and enrolment process as early as you can.

For tertiary institutions and secondary schools, which all begin early in the year, you will need to start the application process part way through the previous year. The institution’s deadlines will probably be in about November, but check carefully because it depends on the specific course.

You need to allow time to get documents copied and the copies certified, and to have certified translations made by a registered translation agency, if required. If your qualifications have to be assessed by the New Zealand Qualifications Authority, this takes eight weeks (in simplecases).

If you are applying through an agency, the deadline for completing your application may be earlier than the institution’s deadline.

If you meet the academic requirements for a programme and get your application in before the deadline, it is likely that you will be accepted

Tertiary Study

The criteria for entry to tertiary study vary, depending on the institution. In general, if you are under 21, you will need to provide:

  • Evidence of your English Proficiency
  • Evidence of your suitability to study at this level.
  • The institution will advise you if it wants you to have your qualification assessed by the New Zealand Qualifications Authority. This costs NZ$450 and takes up to eight weeks.

Recognition of Prior Learning

If you do not meet one of these criteria, you may be eligible for admission if the institution is satisfied that you are able to meet the demands of the course. Assessment is based on educational qualifications, life experience and work experience. This is called RPL (Recognition of prior learning).

The quality of a New Zealand education is well recognize internationally and because the education programmes and degrees are based on the British education system, it is possible to do an undergraduate degree in New Zealand and a post-graduate degree in another English-speaking country.

In developing countries of Asia it is not unusual to find senior executives and administrators, including cabinet ministers and even prime ministers, who have been educated in New Zealand.

The New Zealand Qualifications Authority, part of the Ministry of Education, keeps the register of all quality assured qualifications available in New Zealand tertiary institutions.

A New Zealand qualification has a reputation globally for being practical, modern and desirable – in some niche areas such as biotechnology, forensic science and marine engineering, New Zealand degrees are acknowledge as simply the best in the world.

Approved (quality-assured) Courses

The New Zealand Qualifications Authority (NZQA) was established to develop the quality of the education programmes offered by colleges of education, polytechnics and institutes of technology (all of which are state institutions) and private training institutions. It does this by:

  • Requiring private training institutions to register if they offer programmes whose duration is 12 weeks or more
  • Requiring all the institutions to maintain the standard required to achieve accreditation
  • Approving the programmes they deliver

Fees Protection

NZQA requires private training establishments to have an arrangement for the protection of student fees in the event that a course stops before its scheduled completion.


If you have a complaint about your course that cannot be resolved with the provider, NZQA may be able to assist (toll – free 0800 QA HELP / 0800 724 357).

If you have a complaint about the pastoral care provided for you, try first to resolve it within your institution, using your own institutions international students’ office or grievance procedures.

If this is not successful, the Ministry of Education has set up the International Education Appeal Authority to investigate complaints about pastoral care and enforce the standards in the Code of Practice.

If you want to get credit for prior study, this is called “cross-credit” or “exemption”. It means that if you have done the first year of a course in your own country and want to go straight into the second year in New Zealand, you can apply to do so. This must be negotiated with the institution you are applying to study at.

If your previous study was in an English-speaking country, the process will be easy.

If not, it may simply be a matter of providing the faculty department (Science, Hospitality, Geography, etc.) with a detailed description of the course you have studied so far.

In other cases, it may be necessary for the Qualifications Evaluation Service at NZQA to assess your incomplete qualification. They will only do this if the purpose is further study, i.e. if you intend to complete the qualification by studying in New Zealand. The fee is NZ$450 and the process takes around eight weeks. You will have to provide certified photocopies – or, for some countries, the original documents – and translations from an NZQA-approved translation agency. In certain cases, the assessment may be “prioritised” and may not take quite so long.

As their first welcome, to New Zealand, students are usually met at the airport and taken to their accommodation by the institute representative. The type of orientation programme offered depends on the size of the institution.

Language School

A typical language school orientation would involve a tour of the building and introduction to staff, followed by a talk – probably in your language – about life in New Zealand and what is involved in the homestay programme. Academic advisors, counsellors and study skills advisors provide ongoing support.

Tertiary Students

Special orientation programmes are provided for first-year international students. These are mandatory compulsory. The programme will mostly include an official welcome to the institution. Course advice and enrolment; an introduction to university life (student facilities, policies and procedures, and your rights as a student); tours of the university campus and the city, information about living in New Zealand, and a beach trip or other picnic. It is a good chance to meet other international students and the people who work in the institution’s international office.

At the beginning of the academic year, tertiary institutions organise a general orientation week for all students, to introduce them to the diverse cultural and social life on campus. There are cultural festivals, international food courts, wine tasting, concerts, bands, DJs, films and comedy performances. All the institution’s clubs and societies set up stalls.

General Information

Once you have settled in, your local Citizens’ Advice Bureau (toll-free 0800 367 222) (0800 FORCAB) is a good “one-stop shop” for finding out where to go for help. The volunteer staff provide up-to-date information on consumer, budgeting, employment, tenancy, personal and family issues. The service is free. Some of the staff speak languages other than English.

Bank Loans are easily available for higher studies anywhere in the world. Loans should be preferably taken from a Nationalised Bank. The term & condition for educational loans may vary from Bank to Bank.


All Professional/Technical job oriented courses offered by reputed Universities.

Loan Amount

Maximum Rs. 15 Lakhs.


For Loans upto Rs. 4 Lakhs, no collateral security is required. For Loans above Rs. 4 Lakhs, collateral security is required.


Course period + one year or 6 months after getting a job, whichever is earlier. The loan is to be repaid in 5-7 years after commencement of repayment.

Rate of Interest

Upto Rs. 4 Lakhs-PLR - Above Rs. 4 Lakhs-PLR + 1%

Simple interest will be calculated during Repayment Holiday / Moratorium period.