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Australia leading NZ in equal opportunity

NZUSA Media Release – 14 September 2012

Australia leading New Zealand in equal opportunity for tertiary education

Key indicators contained in the OECD’s latest report card on education, released this week, show further evidence of a concerning gap between Australia and New Zealand.

One of the indicators of concern to the New Zealand Union of Students’ Associations (NZUSA) is that compared to Australia the ratio of students to teaching staff in tertiary education institutions in New Zealand is 16% higher.

Similar differentials also occur between the two countries for classroom ratios in secondary and primary schools.

The OECD report, “Education at a Glance 2012”, also lauds Australia’s achievement in providing the greatest educational opportunities for young people aged 25-34 with low educational backgrounds.

The only other countries singled out for this achievement by the OECD are Canada, Denmark, Finland, France, Iceland, Ireland, the Netherlands, Spain and Sweden. Where is New Zealand?

In all of the countries that are performing best in enhancing educational opportunities at least 25% of each cohort of young people with low educational backgrounds have reached tertiary education, and less than 30% have not completed at least an upper secondary education.

An area that New Zealand does top the OECD in, is that 80% of young tertiary students (this time 20-34 year-olds) come from families where parents have also experienced high levels of education. The nearest country to this extremely high level is Canada at 70%.

On this indicator Australia is way back at 50%, although the odds of being a student in higher education if your parents have high levels of education is estimated to be on a par with New Zealand, and at the OECD average.


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