New Zealand Embassy Paris, France

Education & Science Cooperation


French is still the most popular foreign language taught in NZ schools and French schools are moving to increase their teaching of English, with a foreign language becoming a compulsory requirement for all French primary school kids from age six. Seeking to make the most of two-way cooperation in language learning and other areas of education was therefore the driver for the France-New Zealand Bilateral Education Cooperation Arrangement, signed in Paris in September 2013 by Education Minister Hekia Parata and (then) French Education Minister, Vincent Peillon.

Stronger academic cooperation between New Zealand and France to enhance the quality of university education and research was the basis for an agreement signed in November 2013 by Universities New Zealand - Te Pōkai Tara and its French equivalent the Conférence des

Présidents d’Université (CPU). The New Zealand–France Academic Links agreement includes university staff and student exchanges, sharing of research, and facilitating connections between academics in teaching and research. With about 55 formal relationships between New Zealand and French universities already in place, the agreement formalises and complements both countries’ long standing relationship in the education sphere.


France is one of the top 20 source countries of international students for New Zealand, and second in Europe, with 2,276 students in 2013.  70% are studying in private training establishments, the majority of those in English language courses.  In the university sector, half of the 300+ students study at Bachelor’s level and almost a quarter complete PhDs. There are smaller numbers studying in schools, institutes of technology and polytechnics.


France offers a suite of scholarships for New Zealand students to study in France.  From 2014, Erasmus + provides an opportunity for European Commission funded student exchanges between New Zealand higher education institutions and their French partners.


Dumont d’Urville New Zealand / France Science & Technology support programme

In November 2005 an arrangement was signed between the French Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the French Ministry of National Education, Higher Education and Research and the New Zealand Ministry of Science and Innovation (MSI, formerly MORST) to promote and support scientific and technological cooperation between New Zealand and French researchers in the public, non-government and private sectors. The agreement was re-signed in 2010.

The name of the programme acknowledges the substantial scientific contribution made by the expeditions to New Zealand by French explorer Jules Sébastien César Dumont d’Urville in the early 19th century.

To support New Zealand-initiated activities under the bilateral arrangement, the New Zealand Minister of Science and Innovation, through the International Mobility Fund, has allocated annual funding up to NZ$90,000 to the Dumont d’Urville S&T Programme for research in the fields of food, agriculture and fisheries, biotechnology, renewable energy and energy efficiency, biodiversity and nanosciences. 

The programme is administered by the Royal Society of New Zealand.

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