Culture & Education - Essay Example

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Culture and Education in New Zealand Reflection Paper This reflection will consider the education system of New Zealand. New Zealand is a small country in the Pacific Ocean, approximately the size of Colorado, and spends around six percent of their gross domestic product on education (CIA World Factbook)…
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Culture and Education in New Zealand Reflection Paper This reflection will consider the education system of New Zealand. New Zealand is a small country in the Pacific Ocean, approximately the size of Colorado, and spends around six percent of their gross domestic product on education (CIA World Factbook). The New Zealand education system is broken down into four components. The first aspect is early childhood education, this is non-compulsory and from birth to five years of age. The second is primary and intermediate school education, which is for children aged 5 to 13. Secondary school is for children aged from 13 years old and is for five years. In total, students are present at school for 13 years from the beginning of primary school to the end of secondary school. Tertiary education can begin at 16 years or above, and is non-compulsory (Ministry of Education). Despite being a small country, New Zealand’s education system performs well on the international scale. The program developed by the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) evaluates many countries on a regular basis. Under the most recent OECD survey,15 year old students in New Zealand were significantly above the international mean for performance, with only two countries performing better (Ministry of Education).The national curriculum in New Zealand focuses on eight key areas of learning. These are The Arts, Physical Education, Languages, Mathematics, Science, Health, English and, Social Sciences and Technology. In addition, education also occurs outside of the classroom through outdoor trips and programs (Ministry of Education) . One aspect of New Zealand educational system that is different than other countries is their focus on national culture. New Zealand is home to two cultures, the first being English culture, similar to the United States or the United Kingdom, although with some local differences. The second culture is Maori, who inhabited the territory prior to European colonization. Both English and Maori are official languages for the country, and the Maori are a minority group, representing 7.4% of the population (CIA World Factbook). The educational system incorporates both the English and Maori culture into their teaching, including aspects such as children learning parts of the Maori language, or a visit to a marae. A marae is an area that remains important in the culture of New Zealand Maori today and has substantial cultural significance (Ministry of Education) . The education system in New Zealand is based on a combination of modern techniques and traditional approaches. The entire system has recently undergone a substantial restructuring in the last 20 years. Through this restructuring, many new approaches were added into the previous model, as well as methods of determining the performance of students, in order to work out where greater focus needs to be placed. The Ministry of Education is a governmental agency that is responsible for the education sector in New Zealand as a whole. This includes giving policy advice to the government, analyzing the effectiveness of current approaches and allocating resources and funding to individual schools (Ministry of Education). From this activity, I learned that the New Zealand government and schools place a large focus on the inclusion of national culture within the education system, and making sure that students are aware of their cultural heritage. The structure of the New Zealand education system is similar to that of the United States, and there is a substantial focus on making sure the educational system is as effective as it can be, and that students have a high quality of education. I learned that education is considered to be an important aspect of New Zealand’s culture, and that the level of achievement is high, even when this country is compared to the rest of the world, which is substantially bigger. Another interesting aspect was the focus that is placed on preschool education, even though it is not a compulsory aspect of New Zealand education. Finally, the range of different activities and subjects that students learned throughout their time at school was interesting, with aspects that would not be consider traditional in other parts of the world, such as Social Sciences and Technology or Languages. Overall, I learned that the New Zealand of education is very similar to that of the United States, and the quality of education also appears similar. The most significant difference I observed was the role of native culture, as there is little focus on the culture of Native Americans within American schools, but there is a substantial focus on Maoris in New Zealand schools. Works Cited CIA World Factbook. "New Zealand". 2012. (June 20). Web. July 11 2012. . Ministry of Education. "The New Zealand Education System: An Overview". 2008. (July). Web. July 11 2012. . Read More
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