This report drafted by Broken Chalk contributes to the fourth cycle of the Universal Periodic Review for New Zealand. This report focuses exclusively on human rights issues in New Zealand’s education field.
- The education system of New Zealand consists of three levels. Early childhood education is from birth to school entry age. Primary and secondary education ranges from 5-19 years of age. Schooling is compulsory from ages 6-16. Once this is completed, students move to higher and vocational education.
- Early Childhood Education (ECE) is not compulsory; however, it is attended by 96.8% of children. It is important to note that there are different types of ECE services.[i] The kind of learning that the children receive at an ECE service or Kōhanga Reo follows the guidance of the Te Whāriki curriculum framework.
- The Te Whāriki curriculum framework has two pathways. Te Whāriki a te Kōhanga Reo is an indigenous approach which is deeply rooted in te reo Māori for Te Kōhanga Reo. Te Whāriki Early Childhood Curriculum is a bicultural framework for early childhood services. Both frameworks are distinct and hold equal significance in their respective contexts.[ii]
- Te Kōhanga Reo entails a Māori immersion environment for tamariki and their whanau. It caters to tamariki from birth to school age.[iii]
- Education is free in schools across all government-owned and funded grades. This free education is applicable if you are a New Zealand citizen or a permanent resident.
- In the Māori medium of education, students are taught at least 51% of the education in Māori language. In English-medium schools, students learn te reo Māori as a language subject. The Māori language is also used in English-medium schools for teaching curriculum subjects up to 50% of the time. The English-medium schools follow the New Zealand Curriculum, whereas the Māori-medium schools follow a curriculum based on Māori philosophies.[iv]
By Caren Thomas
Download the PDF.46th_Session_UN-UPR_Country_Review_New_Zealand_S
[i] Ministry of Education. “Education in New Zealand.” Accessed September 25, 2023. https://www.education.govt.nz/our-work/our-role-and-our-people/education-in-nz/#Early
[ii] Te Whāriki Online. “Te Whāriki Online”. Accessed September 25, 2023. https://tewhariki.tki.org.nz
[iii] Ministry of Education. “For parents and whānau.” Accessed September 25, 2023. https://parents.education.govt.nz/early-learning/early-childhood-education/different-kinds-of-early-childhood-education/
[iv] Ministry of Education. “Education in New Zealand.” Accessed September 25, 2023. https://www.education.govt.nz/our-work/our-role-and-our-people/education-in-nz/#Early
Cover image by Ronnie Macdonald on Flickr.