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Browse the 1966 Encyclopaedia of New Zealand
Graphic: An Encyclopaedia of New Zealand 1966.


This information was published in 1966 in An Encyclopaedia of New Zealand, edited by A. H. McLintock. It has not been corrected and will not be updated.

Up-to-date information can be found elsewhere in Te Ara.




Facilities for education have been available to girls from the time when schools began to be established, but the proportion of girls taking advantage of courses beyond the school leaving-age level has increased correspondingly with the demand for their services in a widening range of occupations. Many schools in the national system are coeducational, though this is not the case with the majority of private (e.g., church) schools. At the post-primary stage there are a considerable number of State schools for boys or girls only, with the result that in some districts there is no option for parents who wish their children to attend a coeducational school. Valuable work was done in some of the early girls' high schools by such well-known educationists as Louisa Dalrymple and Kate Evans. Girls have the same syllabus as boys at primary school, but beyond that, in addition to a common “core” compulsory in all post-primary schools, some take subjects which are essentially feminine – homecraft, clothing, shorthand, and typewriting. At a few post-primary schools they are able to enrol for an engineering or agricultural course, but few are attracted to these. The majority get a general education which becomes more specialised in higher classes according to vocational plans. At university level, girls are admitted to most courses, but, again, there is little interest shown in any type of engineering, and comparatively few women enter agricultural courses. Current figures showing the probable destination of girls leaving school indicate that about 30 per cent go into office work, 14 per cent work in shops, 10 per cent enter health services, 8 per cent do domestic work or are at home, 7 per cent become teachers, and 3·5 per cent study full-time at university.