Hey guys! In this post I thought I would give you my thoughts on the high school education in New Zealand. I am right now in year 13 at Paeroa college (corresponds to year 3 in Finland´s "lukio"), the last year before you graduate and go to university. There are many differences in the education system if you compare NZ to Finland, so In this post I thought I would cover the major ones.
The variety of subjects is much larger here in New Zealand and you certainly have a higher range of atleast practical subjects to choose from. Where we in Finland have seperate secondary schools for practical and theoretical subjects, New Zealand has the same kind of school for both. In Finland we have academic subjects like philosophy, psychology, history, social studies, religion, while NZ has got more practical subjects like maori, woodwork, food technology, gateway and vocational pathways.
So in Finland we have 5 terms in one school year. In every term we have a certain amount of courses in different subjects, with some being compulsory and some being voluntary. You choose which voluntary courses you want to take depending on which subjects you are going to write in your matriculation examinations in year 3 (year 13 in NZ). The matriculation examinations in Finland are 6 hour long tests that cover everything you have learned that far. These tests are crucial for your future education and for the schools you want to apply for. After every term you have exams for every course that you have taken that term. So in Finland you can have about 25 three hour long exams a year, while you may have about 3-4 NCEA exams a year in New Zealand :P.
In New Zealand all your achievements count. Throughout your 3 years, you collect "credits" by achieving in both external exams and internal standards. Everything you do is important, while only your matriculation examinations count in Finland. You study for three years in order to achieve in your last year.
While you in Finland get assessed on a scale from 4 to 10, New Zealand has got only three kind of "grades" you can get. They are achieved, merit and excellence. The credits you get from an assessment achieved with excellence are much more worth than for instance assessments achieved with merit. Same if you apply for further education in eg. a university, excellence and merit credits are far better than achieved ones.
That is a summary of the major differences :). I have just finished school and I am right now on "study leave", even though I am not going to do any exams XD. So in actual fact, I am on holiday until I go home :D. On Tuesday we had prize-giving, where I got to experience a very powerful "haka" by the students, and got a certificate of diligence in both Calculus and English :). I have graduated from college XD. Not many people can say that they have done that XD.
The school in New Zealand is very different to the school back home, but it has certainly been a great eye-opening experience that I really have appreciated. My exchange is soon coming to an end, so I am going to try to do as much as possible before I go back home. We are for instance going to go for a road trip down to Wellington, and camping up at Cape Reinga (the northernmost point of New Zealand). This experience has been fantastic this far, and it will only get better :D. Looking forward to writing about my trips in my next post!
See you all later :D!