As Prime Minister, education is a big focus for me so it’s been great to see a number of positive reports about our education system released in recent weeks. These reports confirm New Zealand has a world-class education system. We are performing strongly across all levels of education, from early childhood through to tertiary participation and achievement. A report released earlier this month confirmed New Zealand universities are excelling in what is a highly competitive international environment. The latest QS Global University Rankings had all of New Zealand’s eight universities ranked in the top 450 worldwide.
Auckland University was ranked the highest at 81st, which is an impressive result given the rankings consider 3,800 institutions worldwide. It’s also been rated the most innovative university in New Zealand and Australia by respected Asian institution Reuters in its inaugural Top 75: Asia’s Most Innovative Universities report. National has shown our commitment….. to universities by increasing funding for the sector by 24 per cent since we were elected.We now spend over $4 billion, or 1.7 per cent of the country’s gross domestic product, on tertiary education.
This year we also announced new funding of $761 million for a range of science, tertiary and regional development initiatives, many of which will flow into the university sector. Another respected study released last week is the OCED’s Education at a Glance report. It has revealed more New Zealand adults are achieving higher qualifications and we now rank in the top six countries in the developed world. Our $359 million initiative to keep the best teachers in the classroom and share expertise across schools also continues at pace and is getting an enthusiastic reception by our schools. This initiative is about schools working together to help boost student achievement. More than half of all New Zealand schools – around 410,000 children – are now signed up to the initiative.
Early childhood education is another area where New Zealand is performing strongly. Since we were elected, we’ve more than doubled investment into early childhood education. Our early childhood education system consistently ranks in the top three in the world for teacher qualifications and the numbers of staff to children. The Government is making great progress to ensure all our children get the best start in education they can, with 96.6 per cent of New Zealand children participating in early childhood education. Research shows participating in early childhood education not only equips children to do better educationally but is also linked to better health, social and employment outcomes. National will continue to focus on making sure every New Zealander gets the best education possible, so they have the best opportunities to succeed in life.
Finally, thank you for your support of my WeChat account, which I launched earlier this month. It’s great so many people in the New Zealand Chinese community want to keep up with what I am doing as Prime Minister. It has been so popular that I now have a second WeChat account: johnkeypm1.