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Schools in New Zealand have less favourable disciplinary climates in science lessons compared to other OECD countries, according to students’ reports in the Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA) 2015, with an index of disciplinary climate of -0.15 (the OECD average index value was 0.00). Student truancy was higher than the OECD average: 25% of 15-year-olds reported skipping at least one day of school in the two weeks before the PISA 2015 test, compared to the OECD average of 19.7%. That being said, students in New Zealand were more likely to report that their science teachers adapt their instructions much more frequently than the OECD average, with an index of adaptive instruction of 0.25, among the highest in OECD countries (the average index value was 0.01) (OECD, 2016[1]).

The PISA 2015 index of instructional educational leadership (measuring the frequency with which principals report doing leadership activities specifically related to instruction) was higher than the OECD average, at 0.38 (the OECD average was 0.01) (OECD, 2016[1]). In 2016, the proportion of lower secondary teachers in New Zealand aged 50 or over was 40.7%, which was higher than the OECD average of 35.4%. In 2017, teachers in New Zealand had more net teaching hours for general programmes than the OECD average. Teachers annually taught 922 hours at primary level and 840 hours at lower secondary level, compared to OECD averages of 784 and 696 hours, respectively (OECD, 2018[2]). According to school principals’ self-reports in PISA 2015, New Zealand’s schools have some of the highest levels of autonomy over curriculum: 95.8% of principals reported that the school has primary autonomy over curriculum, compared to the OECD average of 73.4% (OECD, 2016[1]).

Teachers earned 87% of the average salary of a full-time, full-year worker with tertiary education in 2016, which was below the OECD average of 91%. According to the OECD Teaching and Learning International Survey (TALIS) 2018, 73.7% of teachers in New Zealand said that if they could choose again, they would still become a teacher; this was similar to the OECD average of 75.6%. Furthermore, 33.6% of teachers felt that the teaching profession was valued in society, compared to an OECD average of 25.8% in 2018 (OECD, 2019[3]).

According to school leaders’ reports in PISA 2015, school leaders in New Zealand are more likely than average to conduct self-evaluations of their schools (99.3% of students were in schools whose principal reported this, compared to the OECD average of 93.2%). They are much more likely than average to undergo external evaluations of their schools (96.7% of students were in schools whose principal reported this, compared to the OECD average of 74.6%). The share of students enrolled in secondary schools, as reported in PISA 2015, whose principal reported that standardised tests are used to make decisions on students’ promotion or retention was 58%, which was more than the OECD average of 31% (OECD, 2016[1]).

In 2017, school autonomy levels over resource management (allocation and use of resources for teaching staff and principals) were higher than the OECD average: 33% of decisions in New Zealand were taken at the school level, compared to the OECD average of 29%.

Annual expenditure per student at primary level in 2015 was USD 7 849, which was lower than the OECD average of USD 8 631. At secondary level, New Zealand spent USD 10 383 per student compared to the OECD average of USD 10 010, while at tertiary level (including spending on research and development), New Zealand spent USD 15 166 per student, compared to the OECD average of USD 15 656.

In 2015, expenditure on primary to tertiary education in New Zealand as a proportion of gross domestic product (GDP) was 6.3%, which was one of the highest rates in the OECD (the OECD average was 5%). The proportion of expenditure on education (from primary to tertiary) coming from private sources (including household expenditure, expenditure from other private entities and international sources) in 2016 was also higher than the OECD average, at 25.6% of overall spending, compared to an average of 16.1% (OECD, 2018[2]).

Evolution of key education policy priorities

New Zealand’s key education policy priorities have evolved in the following ways over the last decade (Table 8.21).

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Table 8.21. Evolution of key education policy priorities, New Zealand (2008-19)

Identified by

Selected OECD country-based work, 2008-191

Evolution of responses collected by the Education Policy Outlook, 2013-192

School improvement

The OECD identified the challenge of individual schools being relatively isolated and with limited opportunities for collegial networking and peer learning, in the context of self-management. [2011]

New Zealand had previously reported the priority of raising the status of the teaching profession, strengthening teacher and principal appraisal and incentivising school co-operation and sharing of resources, where there is a clear educational benefit. New Zealand recently reconfirmed its commitment to improving the learning environment with policy measures taken. [2013; 2016-17]

More recently, New Zealand identified the relatively fragmented and isolated nature of the school network as a key problem to be addressed. [2019]

Evaluation and assessment

According to OECD evidence, schools are required to conduct both annual planning and reporting and self-review processes, but these do not appear to be sufficiently exploited for system monitoring and evaluation purposes. There is also a need for further investment in professional development to ensure that evaluation and assessment practices are consistently effective, to optimise assessment practice for different student groups and to improve school processes to identify and respond to groups at risk of underperformance, including through strengthening the national information system regarding diverse groups of students. OECD evidence also identified the need for elements to be better integrated and aligned to form a coherent framework of assessment. [2011]

New Zealand reported a challenge in improving national standards and other achievement information to better inform student progress and teaching practice. More recently, new evaluation practices have provided insight into how progress differs among students of different backgrounds. [2013; 2016-17]


The OECD identified the need to further develop the National Standards to embed them within the primary school system. Since 2011, the co-existence of two sets of teaching standards and the lack of clarity about their respective use calls for their consolidation into a single set of standards, providing a clear, shared understanding of what counts as accomplished teaching. For early childhood education and care (ECEC), there is a need to better define goals and content. Another recently identified challenge is the low collaboration between private companies, education and research institutions. Weaknesses in mathematics teaching undermine the acquisition of core mathematics skills at school, precluding access to some higher-skilled fields. [2011; 2012; 2017]

Although recent policy measures have been implemented, New Zealand reported ensuring the capacity of the schools’ boards of trustees to lead education policies and the effective governance of tertiary education institutions through having people with appropriate governance skills as ongoing policy priorities. [2013; 2016-17]



New Zealand reported the priority of ensuring adequate targeted funding to students from low socio-economic backgrounds at all levels of education, with policy measures being taken. [2013; 2016-17]


1. See Annex A (OECD publications consulted).

2. See Reader’s Guide (years and methods of collection).


Selected education policy responses

School improvement

  • In 2014, New Zealand introduced Communities of Learning | Kāhui Ako (CoLs) as part of the Investing in Educational Success initiative, which aimed to raise educational achievement by improving the quality of leadership and teaching to spread best practice across the school network. This new structural approach to education in New Zealand adopted a networked approach, bringing schools at different levels of the education system together to establish a clearer learner pathway. This approach has aimed to help to overcome issues of school isolation and a lack of collegial networking, previously identified within the school system. The model also aimed to bring together schools to share challenges and goals and to enhance teaching practice and leadership through opportunities for collaborative enquiry and knowledge sharing. Three new professional roles have been introduced: Community Leader, Across-Community of Learning Teacher, and Within School Teacher. These new roles work across and within the community to support and share effective teaching and leadership practice. Since 2014, the Education Review Office has released a range of resources to support the establishment and progress of CoLs.

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Progress or impact: As of 2018, New Zealand had implemented 214 Communities of Learning, which catered to 1 761 schools, 495 early learning services and 11 tertiary education providers. This constitutes the majority of New Zealand’s schools and more than 610 000 students in total (Ministry of Education, 2018[427]). An initial progress report found growing momentum for the establishment of CoLs and high levels of shared purpose and commitment, as well as recognition for the importance of collaboration among professionals (Ministry of Education, 2016[428]). At the same time, a more recent comprehensive consultation process across the education system also collected feedback on a difficulty for schools to step away from the former model that had them in competition with each other. Often, the success of a CoL is highly dependent on the level of skill and commitment among the leadership. As such, experiences are highly varied (Tomorrow’s Schools Independent Taskforce, 2018[429]).

Evaluation and assessment

  • In New Zealand, the Public Achievement Information (PAI, 2011) programme aims to improve public transparency of educational data and to promote the effective use of information at all levels of the system to support improved learning and student achievement. The Ministry of Education (MoE) closely monitors and modifies its PAI products (a collection of infographics) based on users’ feedback and demand, aiming to reach a wide range of users (Ministry of Education, 2019[430]). MoE also works with several other government agencies to combine administrative data under the umbrella of establishing the Integrated Data Infrastructure (IDI), a research database holding anonymised microdata on people and households.

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Progress or impact: The material published through the Public Achievement Information programme has developed considerably since 2011, according to government reports. In 2013, the Ministry of Education produced a range of PAI profiles, including a national picture and infographic for each Regional Council and Territorial Authority. The relevant profiles were then aggregated for Iwi rohe (regions). These have been reproduced since, with a focus on ensuring comparability across populations and years. An increasingly wide range of stakeholders appears to use PAI as part of the Communities of Learning | Kāhui Ako implementation. Until 2019 at least, PAI had been used to target mentoring and intervention for students requiring higher levels of learning support. The MoE has also produced a more targeted range of PAI products for the Māori population, such as education profiles by iwi (tribe) in the form of infographics that show a breakdown of key education data from ages 0-18 (National information reported to the OECD).

  • In New Zealand, the annual National Monitoring Study of Student Achievement (NMSSA, 2012) aims to survey, assess and understand student achievement in Years 4 and 8 using the New Zealand Curriculum (NZC). It is the only study to assess primary school students’ learning across all curriculum areas using both task-based and paper-based measures to provide a comprehensive measure of student performance. Selected learning areas are assessed each year, with the whole curriculum covered across five years. In addition to achievement data, the NMSSA also collects background information from students, teachers and principals. Each year, 200 schools are randomly selected with up to 25 students from each (NMSSA, 2018[431]).

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Progress or impact: As the National Monitoring Study of Student Achievement progresses into its second five-year cycle, increasingly detailed analyses of student performance data are possible, including longitudinal analysis. For example, in 2017, NMSSA assessed science achievement using a nationally representative sample of about 2 100 students at each year level. Results were reported on a measurement scale called the Science Capabilities (SC) scale. Most students (94%) in Year 4 were achieving at or above curriculum expectations (Developed Level 1 and 2), while in Year 8 a minority (20%) were achieving at or above curriculum expectations (3 and 4). The difference in average scores between Year 4 and Year8 indicates that students made about eight SC units of “progress” per year between Year 4 and Year 8. Differences in the overall average scores for Year 4 and Year 8 students between 2012 and 2017 were not statistically significant. Statistically significant increases in average achievement scores were recorded, however, for several population sub-groups including: Year 4 Asian students, Year 8 girls, Year 8 Māori students and Year 8 Pasifika students (Ministry of Education, 2018[432]).

Additional education policy responses

School improvement

  • In 2017, New Zealand implemented a new Code of Professional Responsibility and Standards for the Teaching Profession (Our Code, Our Standards | Ngā Tikanga Matatika, Ngā Paerewa, 2017) to replace the former Practising Teacher Criteria. The new code outlines the standards of ethical behaviour and expectations of teaching practice from teachers (Education Council, 2018[433]). Whereas the previous standards covered all certified teachers, the new code has removed the standards for graduating teachers, who are now expected to meet the standards for teaching “with support”, on graduating. New Zealand drafted the code in a process that included engagement with the profession during the second half of 2016 through a range of surveys, focus groups and face-to-face meetings, as well as a wider six-week consultation process that received 2 110 submissions in 2017. Following the publication of the code, New Zealand has also developed a range of supporting resources to assist schools and teachers with implementation (Teaching Council, 2017[434]).

Evaluation and assessment

  • Since 2017, tertiary education providers must publish information on the employment status and earnings of their graduates. The aim is to inform students’ decisions about what and where to study, support providers’ self-improvement efforts and feed into performance monitoring and policy development. The standardised reporting focuses on young graduates aged 21-29, providing information by level and field of study. Indicators include graduate destinations (employed, studying, overseas, or on a benefit) and graduate earnings (median, lower quartile and upper quartile earnings of graduates employed or self-employed in New Zealand) (Tertiary Education Commission, 2019[435]). The results will be benchmarked against national data and form one of several datasets that feed into learner-facing websites such as the Occupation Outlook, a tool for exploring study and career options (National information reported to the OECD).


Selected education policy responses


  • The Blueprint for Education System Stewardship (2016) is the result of a process that took place during 2015 and 2016, where various governmental education agencies came together with the New Zealand State Services Commission (SSC) to identify how best to collaborate on priority outcomes for the education system over four- and ten-year horizons. The process included the Ministry of Education, the Education Review Office, the New Zealand Qualifications Authority, the Tertiary Education Commission, Education New Zealand and the Teaching Council of Aotearoa New Zealand. The agency members collectively agreed on four priority areas of joint action: 1) learning and success among Māori and Pasifika students; 2) quality teaching, leadership and assessment; 3) empowering learners, parents, communities and employers to influence the quality and relevance of teaching and learning and raise achievement; and 4) information management and technology (SSC, 2016[436]).

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Progress or impact: The Blueprint for Education System Stewardship replaced the previous Performance Improvement Framework (PIF, 2009), which aimed to inform ministers, stakeholders and the public about agency and system performance, and enhance progress. It also aimed to give central agencies a more coherent view of agency and system performance and better position them to prioritise and drive improvements (Te Kawa and Guerin, 2012[437]).

A report from the State Services Commission found that the Blueprint has allowed the agencies to work together more effectively and under a common vision (SSC, 2016[436]). As part of the Blueprint process, each of the agencies initially used the PIF as a tool for self-reflection to compare their own actions, those of the other agencies, and their collective goals. The SSC’s report indicated the value of the self-reflection process in highlighting the work already underway across the agencies that could contribute towards excellence objectives in education. The process also enabled the agencies to harmonise planning for maximum learner benefit, minimise duplication and develop additional items in the priority work programme (SSC, 2016[436]).

Various operational components have been introduced to help implement the Blueprint. The Education System Digital Strategy (2016) addresses the priority for information management and technology. The strategy and its programmes are governed collectively by the various agencies. In 2016, a new division was established within the Ministry of Education to manage the priority of empowering learners, parents, communities and employers.

From 2018, the two remaining priorities have been addressed through the Education Portfolio Work Programme, which encompasses a wide range of changes in education policy and practice (National information reported to the OECD).

  • New Zealand’s Better Public Services (2012) programme included ten public sector targets to be achieved by 2017, including three for education. These were: 1) by 2016, increase participation in ECEC to 98%; 2) by 2017, raise the attainment rate of National Certificate of Educational Achievement (NCEA) Level 2, or equivalent (upper secondary) to 85% of 18-year-olds; and 3) by 2017, raise the attainment rate of NCEA Level 4 (post-secondary non-tertiary) or above to 55% of 25-34 year-olds. New Zealand also used education targets in budget and strategic planning processes, prioritising funding in the budget to ensure the achievement of the targets.

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Progress or impact: In 2014, following an interim analysis of the results, the State Services Commission reported the government’s decision to increase the third target from 55% of 25-34 year-olds to 60% (SSC, 2017[438]). Subsequently, with almost all education targets achieved by 2017, this policy was discontinued in 2018 (SSC, 2018[439]). The percentage of 18-year-olds achieving NCEA Level 2 increased every year from 2010 before reaching the target of 85% in 2017. Disaggregated data for Māori and Pasifika students show that, although the target of 85% was not reached, these minority student populations saw the highest increase in participation rates: a 14.7 percentage point increase from 2012 among Māori students and a 10.6 percentage point increase among Pacific students (Ministry of Education, 2018[440]). The same year, 55% of 25-34 year-olds qualified at Level 4 or above, largely as a result of efforts to develop the skills and qualifications of the population, retain domestic talent, and attract highly skilled and talented people to New Zealand’s workforce (SSC, 2017[441]). Although the ECEC target was not achieved (96.7% by the end of 2016), the government reported that participation rates among Pasifika and Māori children had experienced the most significant growth since 2010, with respective increases of 6.2 and 5.2 percentage points. Among the general population, the percentage of children starting school with prior ECEC attendance increased by 2.1 percentage points between 2010 and 2016 (Education Counts, 2017[442]).

  • In New Zealand’s Student Achievement Function (SAF, 2011) initiative, SAF practitioners appointed by the Ministry of Education to the regional offices work with schools on raising student achievement with a focus on literacy and numeracy. The aim is to support schools in the implementation of the New Zealand Curriculum (2010) and the use of the National Standards (2010). A central team provides training and professional development. SAF practitioners accompany schools and kura through an intensive 26-week programme (Ministry of Education, 2014[443])

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Progress or impact: An independent evaluation (2014) found that the Student Achievement Function initiative was well received by schools, contributes to positive outcomes in students’ and schools’ capabilities and was supporting positive change within the Ministry of Education. Six success factors that support the effective operation of the SAF include: enabling approach using robust tools; credible, skilled practitioners; strategic SAF practice leadership; willing schools and kura; quality ministry interaction with schools; and transparent systems and processes (MartinJenkins & Associates Ltd., 2014[444]). By 2014, around 45 SAF practitioners were working with around 600 schools and kura per year (Ministry of Education, 2014[443]). The practitioners work alongside teachers and leaders in one of five key areas: cultural and linguistic intelligence, educationally powerful connections with parents and families; and instructional, organisational or evaluative capabilities (Ministry of Education, 2014[443]).

In 2019, the Ministry of Education found that SAF had improved its ability to work directly with schools to support their in-classroom practices by providing expert practitioners and positively engaging the wider school community. The same year, a total of 32 SAF practitioners were operating across the country (National information reported to the OECD).

  • New Zealand’s Tertiary Education Strategy (TES, 2014-19) focuses on developing relevant skills for entry into the labour market for at-risk youth, and on improving achievement rates of Māori and Pasifika youth. The strategy also seeks to improve literacy and numeracy among adults, improve the quality of research-based institutions, and build international relationships to improve teaching and expand access programmes and institutions abroad. Through these priorities, the government seeks to build strong links between the tertiary education system and the labour market, local communities and the global economy (Ministry of Education, 2018[444]).

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Progress or impact: In 2015, the government allocated funding to increase the number of people enrolled in apprenticeships from 42 000 to 50 000 by 2020, with the intention of particularly benefitting participants in Māori and Pasifika Trades Training (Ministry of Education, 2017[445]). Three new information and communication technology (ICT) graduate schools provide industry-focused education and research, built on connections made with related high-tech firms. Following the approval of the Tertiary Education Strategy, the government anticipated the following demographic changes: a peak in 2018 of 18-22 year-olds in New Zealand, followed by a decline; and an increasing share of young people identifying as Māori, Asian and Pasifika, increasing until 2031. This changing context poses challenges to support achievement and transitions into the labour market for all students (Ministry of Education, 2017[445]).

Between 2014 and 2015, the proportion of individuals aged 15-24 who were not in employment, education or training (NEET) remained stable at 14%, while 83.3% of 18-year-olds achieved NCEA Level 2 (ISCED 3) or equivalent, an increase of 9 percentage points since 2011. Māori and Pasifika youth (aged 18-24) continue to have lower participation rates in tertiary education; however, Māori and Pasifika degree-level graduates had smaller employment gaps with their peers immediately after graduation, compared to graduates with lower level qualifications.

Between 2005 and 2015, the number of international doctoral students increased from 704 to 4 066, which was reported as a success due to the government’s policy of domestic fees for international PhD students. In 2016, the government announced the development of a new International Education Strategy that will develop objectives to broaden the scope of international education through to 2025 (Ministry of Education, 2017[445]). Work is currently underway on developing a new TES for release in mid-2019.

  • New Zealand’s Education (Update) Amendment Act (2017), was a significant reform to the Education Act (1989), New Zealand’s cornerstone of education legislation (Ministry of Education, 2011[446]). The amendment introduced new objectives to guide the education system in the ECEC and schooling sectors. These objectives inform each subsequent government’s Statement of National Education and Learning Priorities. The amendment also aims to modernise legislation, also addressing omissions or inconsistencies between law and practice. The act set out a new strategic planning and reporting framework for schools, and clarified roles and responsibilities for the school boards of trustees. It also provided for an organised range of interventions and increased flexibility in enrolment and attendance requirements, enabling more flexibility in school opening hours and allowing home-based ECEC services to offer out-of-school care. The act also intended to enable school principals to manage more than one institution.

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Progress or impact: The 2018 Education Amendment Act passed amendments to the 1989 and 2017 Acts (Ministry of Education, 2018[447]). The 2018 Act dismisses the provisions relating to the partnership school model and the mandatory use of National Standards. The commencement of the new strategic planning and reporting provisions were delayed by a year. The 2018 Act also introduced changes to the governance of tertiary institutions, including making the falsification of information provided in an application for fees-free tertiary education an offence, and reinstating staff and student positions on higher education institution governing councils (Ministry of Education, 2018[447]). The 2017 changes to ECEC endure, as do those to school boards of trustees, although they are currently under review.

  • The New Zealand Curriculum (2007, NZC) and the Te Marautanga o Aotearoa (2008) establish learning objectives and expectations for students in the school system. National Standards (2010) and Ngā Whanaketanga Rumaki Māori were also put in place to support the successful implementation of the curriculum by setting expectations for students’ learning across primary schooling (Ministry of Education, 2018[448]).

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Progress or impact: New Zealand removed the National Standards in 2018 and formed a Ministerial Advisory Group and a Reference Group to strengthen the design and use of local curricula so that all children progress and achieve across the full New Zealand Curriculum, and to ensure a wider representation of stakeholders (Ministry of Education, 2018[449]). In 2018, the Reference Group members consulted with their networks and launched an online survey to gather feedback regarding curriculum, progress and achievement at school. Some 2 053 responses were received (National information reported to the OECD). Further discussions on both the findings and the emerging ideas of the Ministerial Advisory Group took place in 2018, with more discussions scheduled for 2019. In 2016, the government also began a review of the digital technologies component of the national curriculum, including consultation with a range of stakeholders and curriculum experts. From 2018, the ministry has invested in a broad professional support programme for schools and kura to implement the new learning into their local curriculum. As of 2020, digital technologies is to be fully integrated as a strand of the Technology and Hangarau Learning Areas of the New Zealand Curriculum and Te Marautanga o Aotearoa (Ministry of Education NZ, 2018[450]).


  • Since 2010, New Zealand’s tertiary education organisations (universities, institutes of technology, wānanga and private training establishments, TEOs) must report and publish tertiary education performance indicators (EPIs) measuring their students’ rates of course and qualification completion, student retention and progression to higher-level study in New Zealand. The Tertiary Education Commission publishes tables of all funded TEOs, and based on these performance measures, determines the number of students for which providers will receive government tuition subsidies in subsequent years.

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Progress or impact: New Zealand introduced the Performance Linked Funding (PLF) system to incentivise providers to improve programmes with poor educational performance and enrol students in higher performing programmes. From 2012 until 2018, up to 5% of tuition subsidy funding could be recovered from poorly performing providers under the PLF mechanism. In 2018, the government decided that PLF had, alongside other system levers, served its original purpose of reducing provision with low completion rates and so discontinued this approach. The Tertiary Education Commission continues to report on the education performance indicators to inform future allocation decisions. New Zealand introduced new level groupings to represent cohort-based EPIs, and full-time and part-time provision are now computed individually (TEC, 2018[451]). The new reports also provide information on the education performance of individual tertiary education organisations (TEC, 2018[452]). Relevant performance information for industry training organisations includes first-year retention, cohort-based completion and credit achievement rates. Several of these indicators are calculated using new methodologies (TEC, 2018[452]).

  • New Zealand’s Performance-Based Research Fund (PBRF, 2003) encourages and rewards excellent research in New Zealand’s degree-granting organisations. It does not directly fund research but supports it through assessing the research performance of organisations, as well as funding them based on the assessment results. The PBRF is the primary form of government funding for general research capability in higher education institutions and contributes to the government’s wider science, research and innovation objectives by supporting research activities that provide social, economic, cultural and environmental benefits to the country, including the advancement of mātauranga Māori.

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Progress or impact: A 2012 review indicated that the Performance-Based Research Fund has contributed to an increase in the research performance and productivity of tertiary education organisations (TEOs) and has gained positive recognition internationally. Following this, New Zealand introduced changes to increase its efficiency and effectiveness. The 2013 PBRF assessment analysed survey responses from current students and recent graduates about teaching and supervision practices during 2003-11 and found that the introduction of the PBRF did not hurt teaching quality (Smart, 2013[453]). Between 2015 and 2018, the government committed to adopting further changes to make fund objectives clearer, simplify the quality evaluations, improve reporting on research performance and place more value on user perspectives of research quality and user-oriented research.

An independent review of the PBRF will commence in 2019 to refresh the programme so that it better supports the evolving environment of research and tertiary education. Interim results for the most recent quality evaluation show that the number of researchers awarded with a funded Quality Category has increased by 66.2% between 2003 and 2018. The number of awards given by the Pacific Research Panel to the top two categories is in line with the national average and, for the Māori Knowledge and Development Panel, it is well above the national average (Tertiary Education Commission, 2019[454]).

  • In 2015, New Zealand implemented a reform to expand national industry training and improve value for money. The reform addressed challenges identified in the 2011 government review of national industry training, as well as OECD recommendations to improve skills development (OECD, 2013[455]). Formal workplace-based training is mainly arranged by industry training organisations (ITOs) funded by the government and employers. The reform integrated responsibility for the arrangement of training and pastoral care of trainees, removed the age limit for apprenticeships and granted employers the option of managing industry training funds directly, instead of working with ITOs (OECD, 2015[456]). Furthermore, the Qualifications Authority gained a larger role in managing quality assurance in ITOs. Operational measures encouraged improved performance among ITOs, as well as consolidation within the ITO network. A new funding model increasing the public contribution to apprenticeships was introduced, moving from a 70:30 split between government and businesses respectively, to an 80:20 split (OECD, 2013[455]). Developments in Māori and Pasifika Trades Training further support improved participation in vocational education (OECD, 2015[456]).

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Progress or impact: Funding for many “inactive” trainees was stopped when the reform was implemented. Mergers of industry training organisations led to a reduction from 40 organisations in 2009 to 11 in 2016. Furthermore, participation in workplace-based training had increased by 2015, although this was at least partly due to the recovery of the construction industry following the global financial crisis (National information reported to the OECD). The rate of completion for five-year programmes increased from 37% in 2010 to 53% in 2015. This takes into consideration the lagged effect of past poor performance: the three-year completion rate was 64%. The five-year completion rate for apprentices was 57% in 2015, up from 42% (OECD, 2013[455]).

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