Clear direction set for the education system, skills prioritised


The Government has released a set of priorities for early learning through to tertiary education and lifelong learning to build a stronger, fairer education system that delivers for all New Zealanders.

“The election delivered a clear mandate from New Zealanders to accelerate our plan to reduce inequalities and make more training opportunities available as the country recovers from COVID-19,” Education Minister Chris Hipkins said.

“We have a significant programme of work in education which began in our first term in Government to improve the wellbeing of students and teachers, lift achievement and investing to train and reskill New Zealanders. 

“It’s now about building on those foundations as we prioritise programmes like the roll out of the Free and Healthy School Lunches, move to significantly closing the pay gap for teachers working in education and care centres, replace the blunt and outdated decile system and target additional tertiary spending in areas that are critical for the country’s economic recovery.

“The Government’s direction in education is set out in two documents. The new statement of National Education Learning Priorities (NELP) is a legal framework for early learning services, schools and kura, and the new Tertiary Education Strategy (TES) sets out the priorities for tertiary providers.”

These documents signal that the Government is committed to making a meaningful difference in areas, including:

  • reducing barriers to education for all learners
  • ensuring places of learning are safe, inclusive and free from racism, discrimination and bullying
  • developing staff to strengthen teaching, leadership and learner support capability across the education workforce
  • collaborating with industries and businesses to ensure learners have the skills to succeed.

“From scrapping NCEA exam fees, implementing free fees for the first year of tertiary study, the school donations scheme, setting clear expectations for the pastoral care of students, and connecting more students to the internet, we have made significant progress over the last three years towards an education system that makes sure no one is left behind.

“I am confident that the education system, in responding to this set of priorities, will give students the skills and confidence needed to succeed in education, in work and in life,” Chris Hipkins said. 

Notes: The Education and Training Act 2020 sets out legal requirements for early learning services, schools and kura. The Statement of National Education and Learning Priorities (NELP) and the Tertiary Education Strategy (TES) support the Act by expressing the priorities for early learning, schooling, tertiary education, training and lifelong learning. The NELP and TES will help education providers to give effect to the changes required in the Act.

The documents give clear guidance to education providers on what needs to happen to make sure that more of our learners succeed. The NELP includes practical actions that educators and education leaders can take to achieve the priorities and should not result in significant additional work for our educators.

The Ministry of Education will be communicating directly with all schools and early learning services early in the New Year with more information on how to implement these priorities. The Tertiary Education Commission (TEC) will be supporting tertiary providers to incorporate these priorities into their investment plans.

The full NELP and TES, and the advice to the Minister is available here.