New Zealand Education system and academic equivalences [fr]

New Zealand Education system

Compulsory education structure
Schooling is compulsory from 6 until 16 years old.
Most students start school on their fifth birthday, regardless of the time of the year. They are then enrolled in Year 0 (optional). In February the next year, they start Year 1.

Compulsory schooling includes two levels:
- Primary school : Years 0 to 8 (approximately 5 to 12 years old)
- Secondary school: Years 9 to 13 (approximately 13 to 17 years old)

Administrative organisation
The New Zealand Ministry of Education is in charge of the national education system, which is divided into three broad areas: Early childhood education, primary and secondary education and tertiary education.

There is no intermediary between the central administration and New Zealand schools, compared to France where there are rectorates and academic inspectorates, for example.

As such, schools enjoy a high level of autonomy, both in terms of recruiting teachers and managing material resources.
To consult the full list of educational institutions, you can access the site of the New Zealand Ministry of Education:

It’s important to note that the enrolment fees can vary greatly between one institution and another (from NZD 2 000 to NZD 15 000) particularly depending on the school status (public or private). Furthermore, enrolment fees for non-resident foreign students are always higher than the fees applying to New Zealand students. Comparing this information between institutions is therefore strongly recommended.

Many schools offer classes in English as a second language to students who are new to New Zealand.

School programme

General overview
The general framework is determined by the central administration, based on a minimum number of half-days of instruction to be provided by schools. Schools are free to schedule the start date and end date in the range of dates stipulated by the New Zealand Ministry of Education.

School calendar (term start dates; number of teaching days per week, per year, etc.)
Five class days per week, from Monday until Friday.
A minimum of 380 half-days per year.

The school year is divided into four terms, broken up by three holiday periods, each of a duration of two weeks (in April, July and October).

Class hours and class duration
Typical schedule: from 9am until 3pm, with a lunch break from 12pm until 1pm.
Classes (spells or periods) last between 45 minutes and one hour.

Academic equivalences between the French system and the New Zealand system

In New Zealand, successful achievement of three levels of National Certificate of Educational Achievement (NCEA) marks the end of secondary school and satisfies entry requirements for higher education. NCEA is recognised by the French government as the New Zealand qualification which provides access to the first year of university studies in France, through the DAP (demande d’admission préalable) procedure.

For indicative purposes, the academic equivalences between the French system and the New Zealand system are as follows :

New Zealand PNG France PNG
Year 1 Grande Section de Maternelle
Year 2 CP ou cours préparatoire en école élémentaire
Year 3 CE1 ou cours élémentaire 1ère année
Year 4 CE2 ou cours élémentaire 2ème année
Year 5 CM1 ou cours moyen 1ère année
Year 6 CM2 ou cours moyen 2ème année
Year 7 Sixième
Year 8 Cinquième
Year 9 Quatrième
Year 10 Troisième
Year 11 Seconde
Year 12 Première
Year 13 Terminale

Higher education

New Zealand degrees :

  • Bachelor of Arts (B.A.) is equivalent to a French Licence
  • Master of Arts, is equivalent to a French Masters
  • PHD, is equivalent to a French doctorate

There are seven universities in New Zealand, located in the main cities. Student fees for non-resident foreign students are higher than those paid by New Zealand students and markedly higher than the fees in New Zealand institutions.

Illustration by Eric Veillé. - PNG

Dernière modification : 13/04/2021

top of the page