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New Zealand education quality and standards

Study in New Zealand for a high-quality education and world-class qualifications.

The New Zealand government has strong quality assurance systems to ensure  high-quality education at all levels of the education system, both public and private.

Learn more about our education system’s quality and standards

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New Zealand government agencies monitor the quality of all areas of the education system.

This ensures students gain the skills they need and obtain qualifications that are relevant and good value for money. 

Agencies responsible for quality assurance include:

  • The Ministry of Education, which develops education goals and curriculum for primary and secondary schools

  • the Education Review Office, which checks the quality of education and student support in primary and secondary schools

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The New Zealand Qualifications Framework (NZQF) has 10 levels and covers a range of qualifications, from certificates to doctoral degrees.  

Any programme you’re considering studying in New Zealand should tell you which level of the NZQF you’d achieve when you graduated, as well as which qualification you’d obtain.


The NZQF levels are:

  • levels 1-4, which cover the National Certificate of Educational Achievement (NCEA) - the main qualification in secondary schools - and basic trades training

  • levels 5-6, which cover advanced trades, technical and business qualifications

  • levels 7-10, which cover degrees, graduate and postgraduate qualifications.

Learn more about our qualifications on the NZQA website.

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The main qualification in New Zealand secondary schools, the National Certificate of Educational Achievement (NCEA), is widely recognised internationally.

Places that recognise NCEA include Australia, the United Kingdom, Europe, Germany, India and Thailand.

New Zealand Bachelor Degrees are widely recognised internationally for enrolment in postgraduate programmes at universities around the world.  


New Zealand has signed agreements with groups of European and Asia-Pacific countries that commit to recognising each other’s qualifications.

These agreements include the Lisbon Recognition Convention in Europe, which has been signed by 50 countries and international organisations including the European Union, the United States, Australia, Canada, Russia and Israel.

Learn more about international recognition of our qualifications on the NZQA website.

If you study in New Zealand as an international student, education providers are responsible for making sure you are well informed, safe and properly cared for.

The New Zealand government’s Code of Practice for the Pastoral Care of International Students sets out the fair and ethical practices and support systems our education providers must have before enrolling international students.

The code covers international students at all ages and levels of education.

The New Zealand Qualifications Authority (NZQA) ensures all education providers are meeting the code’s requirements. Learn more on the NZQA website.

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