Grand Lifestyle

A Short History of New Zealand Education

With alert level 3 on the horizon, some schools will be preparing to reopen.  That’s going to be interesting.  What’s going to be involved? How will schools adjust? This made me a little curious about the history of New Zealand Education and this is what I discovered:

  • 1867 Native Schools Act was passed (school for Maori children but only in the English language
  • 1869 – The University of Otago opened, the first NZ university and now of course, our oldest.
  • 1877 – Free compulsory Education for children aged 7-13 years was introduced.
  • 1889 – The first free kindergarten started in Dunedin
  • 1881 – The first woman in the British Empire to achieve a Masters of Arts degree was New Zealander, Helen Connon.
  • 1901 – The school leaving age was raised to 14 years. Note; Keith Holyoake Prime Minister in the 60s and early 70s left school aged 12 to help on the family farm.
  • 1922 – The Correspondence School started. This was handy when schools closed in the 50s because of a polio outbreak. My two big brothers had to stay home and they received school learning packs from The Correspondence School.
  • 1937 – Free school milk scheme was introduced. I remember at school drinking warm milk from glass bottles in summer and freezing cold milk in winter.
  • 1944 – The school leaving age was raise to 15 years.
  • 1946 The Technical Correspondence School opened. It’s now called The Open Polytechnic.
  • 1960s – 200 Maori playcentres were established in the northern North Island with some becoming Kōhanga Reo in the 1980s
  • 1967 – Free school milk was abolished.
  • 1989 – ‘Tomorrow’s Schools’ were published and lots of changes followed, including the introduction of ERO – The Education Review Office.
  • 1989 – The school leaving age was raised to 16.
  • 1990 – Corporal punishment was abolished.
  • 2007 – The School Curriculum was published. Teachers work from this today.
  • 2008 – National Standards were introduced.
  • 2017 – National Standards were abolished.

I found all this very interesting. What do you remember from your school years? How do you think schooling will change in the future?

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