NZ’s Education Gets Another “F” in UNICEF Report. Why you Shouldn’t Educate Your Kids in New Zealand

unicef nz

Poor education, poverty and inequality makes NZ not such a great place for kids

New Zealand has been placed towards the bottom of the heap in a new UNICEF report on educational attainment based on results from the  OECD’s Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA).

Since 2000, the OECD has been evaluating the knowledge and skills of the world’s 15-year-olds through its PISA test. More than 510,000 students in 65 economies took part in the latest test, which covered maths, reading and science, with the main focus on maths. PISA results reveal what is possible in education by showing what students in the highest-performing and most rapidly improving education systems can do.

Here’s the link to the report’s key findings If you want to give your kids a quality education in English send them to Ireland. not only does Ireland have higher levels of attainment but it is also a lot safer for children than New Zealand with its twin cultures of brutality and violence.

Recently the  UNICEF report, Fairness for Children compiled league tables of gaps in income, education, health and quality of life in the OECD. New Zealand was placed 35 out of 41 countries.

New Zealand’s home spun education system is often touted to the lucrative billion dollar international student market as “world class”. However,  many immigrant families from first world countries say it is over sold and under-delivered and their kids stand still for a couple of years after they emigrate to New Zealand. Read Stories about Education: “Students Get NCEA Without Learning Anything” .

How New Zealand fared in the Fairness for Children report

Inequality in income  – 17th

Inequality in education – 31st

Health – New Zealand wouldn’t supply data

Life Satisfaction – New Zealand wouldn’t supply data

You can read the report here

UNICEF press release

New Zealand is only included in the league tables on income and educational achievement, due to a lack of data that can be compared with other OECD countries. New Zealand is ranked 17th for inequality in income – with children in the bottom 10 percent (10th percentile) having incomes 46 percent lower than the average child. The tables show that income inequality in New Zealand is largely stagnant, with a small drop in the relative income gap of -1.1% from 2008-2013.

In education inequalities, the tables place New Zealand in 35th place with a drop in educational attainment for children at the bottom, in the period 2006-2012, as measured by Programme of International Students’ Assessment (PISA) results.

Innocenti’s Report Card 13 proposes the following key areas for government action to strengthen child well-being:

• Protect the incomes of households with the poorest children.

• Improve the educational achievements of disadvantaged learners.

• Promote and support healthy lifestyles for all children.

• Take subjective well-being seriously.

• Place equity at the heart of child well-being agendas.

The overall message of the Report Card is that, in order to improve the well-being of all children, it is vital that greater progress is made in reducing child well-being gaps. A fair society is impossible if some children are denied a strong start in life. Addressing inequalities in child well-being should be a central aspect of all policies relevant to children and child well-being.

“The Report Card provides a clear reminder that the well-being of children in any country is not an inevitable outcome of individual circumstances or of the level of economic development but is shaped by policy choices,” said Dr. Sarah Cook, Director of the UNICEF Office of Research – Innocenti. “As our understanding of the long term impact of inequality grows, it becomes increasingly clear that governments must place priority on enhancing the well-being of all children today, and give them the opportunity to achieve their potential.” read on

You may also be interested in

NZ’s education system gets a resounding F, must try harder (Nov 2013)

Information obtained by the New Zealand Listener under the Official Information Act has revealed that the NCEA is churning out students with low levels of education who are poorly prepared for the intellectual rigors of tertiary education and have a poor work ethic.

Furthermore, on Thursday Education Minister Hekia Parata warned the country to prepare for an embarrassing drop in its education rankings in next week’s OECD’s Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA).

PISA results rate the performance of 15 year olds every three years in maths, science and reading.

Here’s a snippet of what The Listener published under the heading

NCEA slammed -Universities are saying that our secondary school qualification is causing serious problems.

A confidential Tertiary Education Commission report reveals profound and widespread concerns about the way NCEA prepares students for further study. It paints a picture of substandard mathematics and science education, NCEA students coming unstuck in their first year at university and tertiary providers scrambling to come up with their own diagnostic tests and remedial courses.

The document is a summary of formal reports from 15 tertiary institutions – universities and polytechnics – that offer engineering courses. The institutions are not named. One told the Tertiary Education Commission (TEC): “An extremely significant concern is the poor preparation of the bulk of our student cohort following NCEA study.”

The report, drawn up as part of the Government’s plan to boost the numbers of engineering graduates, was presented at a high-level TEC meeting on September 2. The Listener was leaked a key page and obtained the full document under the Official Information Act.

The problems the report flags with NCEA fall into three main categories:
• students getting confused or being given poor advice on subject choice;
• those who do the right subjects still being unprepared for tertiary level study; and
• the system not creating a good work ethic.” source

The Listener went on to reveal

“First-year engineering students were not “well grounded in mathematics” and even moderately achieving high school pupils struggled to connect what they had learned at NCEA level with the demands of tertiary study.

Engineering and science are regarded as important subjects in improving New Zealand’s knowledge base and economic growth, and have been earmarked as a priority by the Government…”

It sounds like the tertiary institutions have a struggle on their hands when the majority of their intake has problems with the basics of math and has a poor work ethic. This is bound to put pressure on them to lower their standards and could be the reason why New Zealand slips further down the international university league table every year.

Considering taking your kids to New Zealand because of its world class education system? Think again, find somewhere that does things properly. Your kids only get one chance at school, don’t blow it.

A teacher says “Students Get NCEA Without Learning Anything” read on

NZ’s human rights record stained by child poverty, lack of investment in its young: Amnesty International, UNICEF and OECD



12 thoughts on “NZ’s Education Gets Another “F” in UNICEF Report. Why you Shouldn’t Educate Your Kids in New Zealand

  1. One interesting thing that doesn’t seem to be mentioned anywhere, is how many subjects the “typical” New Zealand student takes in “college” (secondary school in Asia):

    Sophie, who is in year 12 at Sacred Heart College in Napier, fits in her truck repair work (her hobby) in between studying for her six school subjects of English, painting, physics, biology, maths and religion.

    LOL, in most countries in Asia … secondary school students are expected to take between 10 – 13 school subjects.

  2. People going in to university education … were previously marked to a different standard for their NCEA depending on ethnicity …
    but apparently, international students are lowering the quality of NZ education and remember New Zealand is not racist. /sarcasm
    As Rodney Hide points out:

    Rodney Hide ‘s Opinion
    Rodney Hide
    Rodney Hide: Education win not worth cheering

    5:00 AM Sunday Apr 23, 2017

    Herald investigative reporter Kirsty Johnston revealed last year Maori and Pasifika students get a different NCEA to Pakeha and Asian students. She found, “At Level 2, decile 1 Maori students were four times as likely as decile 10 Pakeha to take subjects in the ‘services sector’ field – an area including hospitality, tourism and retail. Popular standards in this field included cooking food by grilling, and preparing espresso-based drinks.”

    The NCEA system is touted as flexible. That flexibility damns it as a system of comparison.

    A merit pass in making coffee and a toastie is not the same as a merit pass in science. But Parata takes it as a win. And gives herself a hearty slap on the back for doing so.

    I have no doubt baristas do more good than degreed-up lawyers and bureaucrats, but making coffee is not the educational achievement we have in mind when sending children to school.

    NCEA Level 3 is also not encouraging. That’s the standard set by the universities and the criteria were toughened in 2014, making comparison over time difficult. The achievement rate is Pasifika 30.7 per cent, Maori 31.4 per cent, European 57.8 per cent and Asian 66.5 per cent.

  3. At least they can teach kids about which crops are of high quality, and which brewers produce the liquor with the highest alcohol content. /sarcasm
    I observed people taking teaching qualifications were the ones hopping in and out of bed, wasted or doped to the gills.
    And were the cohort with the highest amount of graduates … interesting how we’re not supposed to link “promiscuity/booze/drugs” with the difficulty of the course.
    Lessons learned: More than 70 Waikato teachers have criminal convictions
    Last updated 13:50, April 17 2017

    Boozed drivers, benefit fraudsters and violent convicts were among those not only charged in court – they were charged with teaching children.

    Dozens of Waikato teachers with criminal convictions, 76 since 2012, have been referred to the Education Council.

    And of that number, only four have been struck off the register.

    Schools alarmed as teachers give up on Auckland, documents reveal

    5:00 AM Friday Mar 10, 2017
    LinkedIn Save
    Mt Albert Grammar School teachers Jenny Bates (left) and Steve Sharp (right) have left Auckland due to the price of houses in Auckland. With them is headmaster Patrick Drumm. Photo / Nick Reed
    Mt Albert Grammar School teachers Jenny Bates (left) and Steve Sharp (right) have left Auckland due to the price of houses in Auckland. With them is headmaster Patrick Drumm. Photo / Nick Reed
    Auckland teachers are quitting the city after tiring of long commutes or living with parents to cope with high rents and house prices.

    Principals want more done to help them retain staff, including a consideration of subsidised housing or making developers include low-cost teacher housing.

    The Ministry of Education is aware of the concerns but says latest figures show in the year to May 2016 just over 2 per cent of Auckland teachers left for the regions.

    Education Minister Hekia Parata has ruled out subsidised housing – and says one problem is a reluctance from Auckland schools to hire younger teachers on permanent contracts.

    Three young teachers recently left Mt Albert Grammar School and quit Auckland, saying they wanted to afford a first home. Headmaster Patrick Drumm said teachers were applying for vacancies but quality was a concern.

    Any effort to compensate Auckland teachers needed to be substantial, he said – much more than a couple thousand dollars.

    “We are seeing communities of learning, improving pedagogy – a lot of investment around that – but the thing that is missing in the whole puzzle is who will bring these initiatives to life? Where’s the workforce, where are the people coming into the workforce?”

    LOL, people don’t realise a concentration of jobs makes an area rich BUT also expensive for others who provide essential services that are underpaid. Law of Unintended Consequences strikes again!

    Schools in lockdown, shots heard, major police operation in Remuera
    1:09 PM Friday Feb 24, 2017

    Armed police on Woodley Ave Remuera after reports of gunshots in the area New Zealand. Photo / Michael Craig
    Armed police on Woodley Ave Remuera after reports of gunshots in the area New Zealand. Photo / Michael Craig
    Three schools are in lockdown and a major police operation is unfolding after police received reports a woman is injured in Remuera’s Woodley Avenue.

    Multiple police cars, the Armed Offenders Squad and a police helicopter are in the area.

    There have been reports of gun shots being heard in the area.

    Three schools are in lockdown, including Remuera Kindergarten, St Kentigern Junior School and Remuera Intermediate. Police said this is a precautionary measure.

    Looks like some people are going to learn that living in an affluent suburb doesn’t insulate one from crime AND a modern society must have people willing to cooperate and the disgruntled can easily make the wheels fall off due to greater media exposure for any kind of bad behaviour.

  6. I wasn’t sure where else to post this. My daughter got her first assignment for the year for English. She has been instructed to write a report, where she has been spying on a student throughout their entire schooling life for the Ministry of Education. The kicker is that the student is herself. She has a list of 23 questions she needs to cover in the report, which includes:

    1. What type of pre-school education they had.
    2. What things they enjoyed as a pre-schooler.
    3. How they felt when the started primary school.
    4. How they felt about intermediate (years 7-8 at school).
    5. The subjects they enjoy and work hard in.
    6. The subjects they slacked around in.
    7. The subject they struggle in.
    8. Any particular activity or project that they did really well last year.
    9. Comment on their lateness. Are they ever late an why?
    10. Comment on how they spend their lunch time and interval.
    11. List the activities and interests this student spends time on.
    12. How do they feel about starting college?
    13. How well do they concentrate in class.
    14. Is there anything that helps this student learn?
    15. How well do they get on with classmates and teachers?
    16. How well does this student participate in group work?
    17. How organised are they with homework?
    18. What annoys them about learning in the classroom?
    19. What do they find good about being in the classroom?
    20. How do they think disruptive students should be dealt with by the teacher?
    21. How do they think good students should be rewarded?
    22. Is there anything relevant about this student which hasn’t been covered already by this report?
    23. You must now interview a parent or guardian. What are their concerns about this student? What do they want to see this student doing in college? Is there anything else they feel they teacher needs to know about this student?

    To me this whole assignment is creepy and an invasion of privacy. A student should be able to volunteer information about themselves should they choose to do so, but for a teacher to demand it is NOT acceptable. I have advised my daughter to simply make stuff up, rather than answer the questions honestly. I have already been in contact with the school over this, but in typical Kiwi fashion, they are more interested in dodging responsibility, rather than admitting that this type of assignment is unacceptable.

    • Sounds like a data mining exercise. Of course, the people receiving the completed surveys will get paid, so will the teacher for handing down the assignment – but not the student. Basically they’re looking for ways to improve marketing … without paying for the survey. Cheapskates.

      • Apparently these data mining exercises are alot more common in New Zealand schools than you would think. I remember talking to somebody about our school experiences growing up here and joking to them about how my year ten (fourth form) scientist teacher would occasionally instead of giving us class work to do would instead have us fill in these consumer surveys instead from all these different kiwi businesses. It was obvious she was doing this as some side revenue earner either for herself or her department. The guy I was telling this to just laugh at me and said you too ? I had computer teacher who used to pull same crap on us. The University Library used pay him to digitise some their old books, so instead of teaching us things like us how to operate Windows and run Dos, he would instead have classroom of thirty kids writing out pages that he photocopied onto computer and storing them into hard drive. At two pages a student per class he could of have had three or books done in day. Amazingly this went on all year and nobody seem to have problem with it and as far as he knows he could still be doing it now because in this country nobody has an issue with anything if you’re making money off of it even when it means you’re taking advantage of classroom full of schoolchildren to do it … :-\

  7. Probably another reason reason is this:
    “Trainee teacher beat, stomped on 15-year-old girl’s head
    Last updated 16:46, November 14 2016
    Kahurina Cassidy is a teacher trainee at Waikato University, who beat and stomped on a 15 year old girl she believed was …
    Kahurina Cassidy is a teacher trainee at Waikato University, who beat and stomped on a 15 year old girl she believed was having an affair with her partner.

    A trainee teacher at Waikato University beat and stomped on a 15-year-old girl so badly the girl required hospital treatment.

    Kahurina Raukura Cassidy, 20, appeared in the Hamilton District Court on Monday, where she was sentenced to three and a half months of home detention on a single charge of injuring with intent to injure.”

    Must have been an extra credit lesson: “Application of teaching from the school of hard knocks”.

    In b4 lecturer Mr. Scorpio says “only men are violent”

  8. I work as an online tutor teaching both New Zealand and Australian students from primary to university level. I can always spot the New Zealand students, they have terrible attitudes, and are always a long way behind their Australian peers. The difference in educational attainment is enormous: Australian students of year 10-12 are doing the type and quality of work that New Zealand University students are producing. Often even year 8 students get to this standard.

    • So good to hear that 🙂 my next stop is Australia and after NZ (and this huge disappointment) I am so scared it will be similar. Many people are telling me it’s much better. I hope it’s true…

  9. In NZ 12 years old are doing something that in Poland 8 years old plus we are learning other languages like German and English at that stage….I was shocked when I saw the math of 12 years old in NZ….so I am not surprised at all

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