3.4.2 Achievement

Leaving school by age 15 inevitably means that the adolescent has no school qualifications. As in most countries, New Zealanders with no qualifications tend towards both unemployment and low median incomes 1. Research shows that Māori males are over-represented amongst unqualified school leavers 2. The table below illustrates that low educational achievement is associated with low socioeconomic status (SES) across all ethnicities. Māori are greatly over-represented in the lowest SES group, as are Pacific and Asian, while NZ Europeans are under-represented.

Table 5: School leavers with little or no formal attainment, by ethnic group and SES, 2005 (%)
  Māori Pacific Asian European Total
1 (low SES) 28.2 16.7 17.3 20.4 22.9
2 26.1 16.5 6.7 13.9 17.2
3 22.3 12.9 6.3 11.1 13.2
4 22.1 13.2 5.0 9.5 11.0
5 (High SES) 12.4 9.1 1.9 4.8 5.1


Ministry of Education, www.educationcounts.edcentre.govt.nz , School leavers with no qualifications


1 Ministry of Education, Early Leaving Exemptions. www.educationcounts.edcentre.govt.nz Accessed 25 October 2005.

2 Hill, J. (2003) Young People not in Education, Training or Employment: Key Indicators. Ministry of Social Development Youth Transitions Report Series, Wellington.