If you are seriously considering an International degree in the Australasia region, then New Zealand is the place! Considered as ‘Australia’s younger sibling’ due to the identical flags, it is the birthplace of great people such as Sir Edmund Hillary, Sir Ernest Rutherford and pop singer Lorde. These legends were the byproducts of the flexible structure of the New Zealand education system that attracts a huge number of International students every year. Let us dive deeper into the New Zealand education system and try to understand what is it that makes New Zealand the favourite education destination for so many International students, especially from Asia.
The education system in New Zealand is very unique and reflects diversity due to various religious beliefs, income levels and ethnic groups. The New Zealand education system is considered to be one of the best in the world which is known to maintain excellent literacy standards. In the past few years, due to a gradual rise in employment opportunities, the influx of International students has steadily increased which is the major reason behind the education system in New Zealand becoming increasingly International. International students are bound to receive education of the highest quality in New Zealand due to the world-class education it provides at all the levels.
The aim behind the International Education Strategy is to provide a perfect breeding ground for International education which will be socially, culturally and economically beneficial for entire New Zealand. New Zealand Government is committed to providing a safe learning environment to the International students and as a result, the International Student Wellbeing Strategy was formulated. Worldwide Education for the Future Index has ranked New Zealand the best in the world at preparing students for the future. The New Zealand Government through the International Student Wellbeing Strategy is also committed to providing protection to the International students from exploitation.
There are 8 Universities, 16 Government Institutes and 25 Private Institutes in New Zealand that offers various Undergraduate, Postgraduate, Doctoral and Certificate courses to both local and International students. Every year almost 90,000 to 1,30,000 International students apply for various courses offered by the Universities in New Zealand which contributes around 4.4 Billion dollars to the country’s economy. All the New Zealand Universities feature in the 2019 QS World University Rankings. Usually, the New Zealand Universities have two intake seasons, i.e January and July but there are some Universities which offers multiple intakes during September and November.
The Universities in New Zealand offers only academic programmes in a wide range of subjects related to Science, Commerce and Humanities. Specializations in Agriculture, Engineering, Medicine etc are also available in the New Zealand Universities. Some of the Universities also has multiple campuses located in different cities. The vocational education is offered in 18 Polytechnic Institutes in New Zealand including English Language Training etc. The vocational courses offered in New Zealand emphasises more on work situation experience and practical experience required in the job industry. The New Zealand education system is renowned for its flexibility and the degrees awarded by the Universities/Institutes in New Zealand are quite valued by employers worldwide which gives the degree holders a good chance of getting selected in their desired job.
With the primary focus on protecting the health of the staff, students and faculty members of the higher education providers, the government of New Zealand has put in place a number of key measures. Also, it has made sure that the international students that are stuck in the country in the middle of the pandemic are assisted through hardship funds.
A support package has been introduced in order to provide international students with financial support amid the Covid-19 pandemic-related travel restrictions.
In a move to help those in need of immediate financial relief or part-time employment, the NZ government has established hardship grant funds.
A free online tool known as ‘NZ Ready’ has been launched for those who might have to travel to the country and keep track of the Covid-19 situation in their community.
On October 12, 2020 the government declared a new boatdded exception category to let 250 international PhD and postgraduate students to enter New Zealand.
International students will be allowed to work more than the usual extent of 20 hours a week with the condition that they fulfil their study requirements.
The NZ government has also temporarily increased student loan course-related costs from $1,000 to $2,000 (as a one-time payment) which are to be spent on things to ease their remote learning. This would constitute internet costs and increased power bills. In addition, the foreign students unable to study for up to 8 weeks will be provided with support payments.
The higher education system in New Zealand is classified into:
Category I (Undergraduate Level):
Undergraduate degrees offered by the New Zealand Universities are divided into semesters. The academic year of these Universities runs from the month of February to November with a semester split in the month of June-July. New Zealand undergraduate degrees are valued by employers worldwide. New Zealand offers various undergraduate degrees and certifications to the International students and each one of them will offer different privileges to the students when they later opt for higher education.
The Bachelor's degree programme in New Zealand unlike other countries like the United States is a three-year programme. The students are only taught those subjects which are directly related to the course of study opted by them. For eg: a student opting for major in Mathematics will only be required to take those classes which are directly related to the subject.
The Associate’s Degree programme offered by Universities in New Zealand includes both theory-based and practical-based classes. The advantage of an Associate’s degree programme is that the students can immediately join a job after the completion of their course. Students with an Associate degree will have to spend an additional year in case they opt for a proper Bachelor’s degree. The Associate’s degrees are offered in the fields of liberal arts.
Professional certificate courses in New Zealand are offered by 600 tertiary training schools in the form of apprenticeships, internships etc in several programmes such as electrician, civil engineering, secretarial jobs, plumbing and other technical jobs. The professional certificate courses focus more on practical concepts rather than theoretical concepts. The duration of these professional certificate courses is from 2 to 18 months.
Category II (Postgraduate Level):
Postgraduate programme offered by New Zealand Universities follows the British Higher Education system where the students are awarded a Master’s degree after the completion of the course. Although similar to postgraduate studies in Australia and other countries, the postgraduate degrees offered in New Zealand Universities are mostly research driven which makes them the best in the entire Trans-Tasman region. Those candidates who have a Bachelor’s degree from an accredited Institute can apply for the postgraduate courses offered by Universities in New Zealand. Focussed studies and intense classroom sessions are the hallmarks of New Zealand postgraduate courses.
Those students who opt for Professional Master’s degree courses in New Zealand will have the liberty to work in a different field of study. The duration of the Professional Master’s degree course is 2 years.
The Traditional Master’s degree programme is usually a research-based 2-year programme in which the students can obtain a Master of Science or Master of Arts degree in a particular field of study. The Master’s degree holders can either apply for a PhD course or can apply for a job related to their course work.
Students with a Bachelor’s degree can also apply for a Graduate Certificate course offered by the Universities in New Zealand. There are several advantages to pursuing a Graduate Certificate course such as the students can opt for a Graduate Certificate course rather than pursuing a professional graduate degree course, can get into a job quickly because it is less time consuming and the students can opt for a different field of study etc.
Category III (Doctorate Level):
The students can earn a Doctorate degree in Medicine, Philosophy, Dental, Law and Physical Therapy from the Universities in New Zealand. The Doctorate degree is considered to be the highest level of education or the highest level of expertise a student can get. Depending on the field chosen by the student, the Doctorate degree may take a minimum of 3 years and a maximum of 6 years to complete.
There are various benefits of studying in New Zealand. A few of them are listed below:
The degrees and education programmes offered by New Zealand Universities are based on the British System of Higher Education due to which they are recognised all over the world.
New Zealand Universities are known to provide quality education.
The state-of-art facilities complement the progressive education system of the country.
International students are provided with a safe learning environment.
New Zealanders are known for their hospitality, friendliness and warmth and they love to interact with people from different cultural backgrounds.
Compared to other countries like Australia, Canada, UK or USA, the course fee structures in New Zealand is very less.
The New Zealand Qualifications Authority (NZQA) provides assistance regarding quality assurance and choosing a course to both the local and International students.
Although a developed country, New Zealand provides a quiet and peaceful atmosphere suitable for the dissemination of knowledge.
Cheaper cost of education compared to US/UK.
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