New Zealand ranked high in OECD for adult education

16 September 2016

An Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) study shows that education remains a priority for New Zealanders long after they’ve left school.

The report, Education at a Glance 2016, shows New Zealand has one of the highest rates of adult learning in the OECD.

Some 68% of adults aged 25 to 64 participated in either formal or non-formal education. Participation in non-formal education is particularly high, with 64% of adults taking part, compared with the OECD average of 46%. The high participation rates extend to vocational programmes and part-time study.

More adults are also receiving higher qualifications, with the proportion of adults aged 25 to 64 with a level 4 or higher qualification in the OECD’s top six. Our completion rates for tertiary study are also comparatively high.

Government spend on tertiary education is over $4 billion per year. This report shows the tertiary system is helping a higher proportion of young people to achieve qualifications at higher levels and gain the skills they need to succeed in the job market.

New Zealand’s international education market remains strong, with one of the highest proportions of international students in the OECD, and international tertiary enrolments up 14% last year.

Other areas of education are also performing strongly. The report shows no other OECD country spends a higher percentage of its public funding on education as New Zealand.

Public expenditure in early childhood education (ECE) is in the top third and the teacher-child ratios in ECE are amongst the lowest in the OECD.

Participation of children aged three years and under ECE is in the top third of OECD countries. Research shows that participation in quality ECE not only equips kids to do better educationally but is also linked to better health, social and employment outcomes.

  • Last changed: 16 September 2016
  • Last verified: 16 September 2016