Joint recognition of Republic of Korea and New Zealand qualifications

An historic statement was signed today by Education officials from the Republic of Korea and New Zealand that will pave the way for students to further their studies in either country.

“The signing of the statement means we can now undertake further bilateral work that has the potential to open up a world of study opportunities for young people here and in the Republic of Korea,” says Secretary for Education, Iona Holsted.

“The joint statement is a step towards our students being able to have previous qualifications more easily recognised abroad and will provide access to further study that has traditionally been difficult to access. While there is still more to do, I’m looking forward to seeing the shared benefits for both countries,” says Ms Holsted.

The Joint Recognition Statement between the two countries, signed in Wellington, follows the completion of a joint research report: Comparison of Senior Secondary School Qualifications.

The research report, prepared by researchers from the Korea Institute for Curriculum and Evaluation and subject matter experts and staff from the New Zealand Qualifications Authority (NZQA) and the New Zealand Ministry of Education, will support higher education institutions in both countries to make decisions about the comparability of Korean High School Certificate and the New Zealand National Certificate of Educational Achievement Level 3.

The report indicates that senior secondary school curricula in the two countries are broadly comparable. This conclusion was based on the number of common denominators for Mathematics and Science subjects using the concept of internationally recognised ‘best-fit’.

NZQA Chief Executive Dr Karen Poutasi said the Recognition Statement and research report are the tangible results of collaborative work under the Education Cooperation Arrangement signed by the two countries in 2009. It is hoped that more Korean students will come to New Zealand to study, and vice versa.

“The statement is the first of its kind signed by Korea and is a sign of confidence in the quality of education in both countries,” said Dr Poutasi. Formal acknowledgement of cooperation arrangements and recognition statements is increasingly common practice in a globally connected world. NZQA aims to have qualification recognition arrangements with at least 50 countries by 2020.

”The joint research report has helped to promote a shared understanding of the Republic of Korea and New Zealand’s education systems and curricula. We look forward to further dialogue between our two countries.”


Signing the Joint Recognition Statement - from left to right - Dr Karen Poutasi, NZQA Chief Executive, Iona Holsted, New Zealand Secretary for Education and Kim Young Gon, Director General International Cooperation, Republic of Korea Ministry of Education.

Background Info

Korea was New Zealand’s fourth largest international student market with 7,352 students enrolled in New Zealand in 2015. Korean students come predominantly for English language study or primary and secondary schooling.

Of the Korean students coming to New Zealand, 55% attend private tertiary institutions. School students account for 32% with 17% attending secondary schools and 15% attending primary and intermediate schools. Korean students make up 36% of all international primary school students. 

Read the Joint Research Report 

Find out more about studying in New Zealand: (English) or (Korean)

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