About foundation education

About foundation education

Last updated 31 May 2024
Last updated 31 May 2024

Foundation education supports a broad range of provision, involving skills such as literacy (in English and te reo Māori), numeracy, supported learning, digital literacy and soft skills, as well as pre-trades learning.

This provision is typically at Level 2 of the New Zealand Qualifications and Credentials Framework (NZQCF) and below. 

Literacy and numeracy

An important part of foundation education is the development of literacy and numeracy skills.

The Tertiary Education Commission (TEC) funds programmes that support adults to develop the literacy and numeracy skills they need to succeed in work, further study and life.

A number of New Zealand adults have lower literacy or numeracy skills. Māori and Pacific people are disproportionately represented in this group. We also know that young people are continuing to leave the compulsory education system without the literacy and numeracy skills they need.

Adults with low literacy and numeracy skills are more likely to experience poor economic, social and wellbeing outcomes. Low literacy and numeracy skills in the workplace can lead to lost productivity and safety issues.