New Zealand Education System
The New Zealand education system is ranked 7th best in the world and is compulsory between the ages of 6 and 16. Most children however start school at the age of 5 already and continue for the full 13 year curriculum.
In order to ensure that some schools don’t become over-crowded while others remain empty, each school is placed in a “zone”. You would then need to live in that school’s zone in order to send your kids to that school.
When looking for a house, you need to be very careful because sometimes the zones can be divided up quite bizarrely, for example a street may have all the even numbered houses in one zone and uneven numbered houses in another. It is always best to check with the actual school that you want to send your child to, to ensure that the house you want to buy / rent is in zone.
School Decile Ratings
The schools are rated via a decile system, the higher the decile of the school, the higher the socioeconomic standing of the students in the school. In other words a school in a more affluent area will have a higher decile rating that a school in a less affluent area.
It is important to note that the decile rating does not imply worse education standards or worse teachers at that school.
In reality however most Kiwis will tell you that a higher decile school will provide a better education. Parents will actually sell their house and move to a new area to ensure their children can go to a high decile school. There are also state funded schools as well as private schools to choose from.
There are many universities, polytechnics (technikon) and colleges throughout New Zealand, each offers it’s own courses as is the case in South Africa. The government has a Student Loan scheme whereby they offer you an interest free loan for your course fees, course related expenses as well as a weekly living allowance. This amount is then paid back as a percentage of your salary when you start working.