Joel Hernandez

Policy Analyst

Policy Analyst Joel joined The New Zealand Initiative after completing his Master’s in Economics at Victoria University where his work focused on productivity, labour economics and game theory. Before this, he completed a Bachelor of Science from the University of Otago, majoring in Microbiology.

Currently, Joel is working on education research using data from Statistic’s New Zealand’s Integrated Data Infrastructure (IDI).

Links to latest reports:

Research note: To graduation and beyond (2021)
Research Note: Educational Performance and Funding in New Zealand: Are our children getting the education they deserve?
Research Note: The State of Schooling (2020)
Insights and Excellence: School success in New Zealand (2020)
In Fairness to our Schools: Better measures for better outcomes (2019)
Research Note: Tomorrow’s Schools: Data and evidence (2019)

Scroll down to read the rest of Joel's work.

Phone: +64 4 499 0790


Recent Work


Podcast: Joel Hernandez on his IDI journey with The New Zealand Initiative

Joel Hernandez explains his three-year journey of crunching New Zealand’s education data. If you would like to listen to our latest podcasts, please subscribe to The New Zealand Initiative podcast on iTunes, Spotify or The Podcast App. Read more

Dr Oliver Hartwich
Joel Hernandez
10 June, 2021
school books

Joel Hernandez on the state of schooling in NZ

Policy Analyst Joel Hernandez spoke to The Project about his research on the state of schooling in New Zealand, which looked at the effectiveness across state, state-integrated, and private schools. In his report, Joel said in order to improve our education system, the Ministry of Education must learn which schools are bucking the trend and overcoming socioeconomic barriers. Read more

Joel Hernandez
The Project
12 April, 2021
Education v3

Better late than never

Since 2013, the Ministry of Education has spent $747.7 million on building, upgrading, and maintaining modern learning environments (MLEs). And yet, with nearly three-quarters of a billion dollars spent, the Ministry is only now starting to evaluate MLEs, eight years after their implementation. Read more

Joel Hernandez
Insights Newsletter
18 March, 2021
Maths 3

Too little too late ?

This week, the New Zealand Herald reported that parents have swamped after-school tuition firms. One tutoring company said their phones “have been ringing non-stop”. This follows the formation of a Royal Society expert panel by the Ministry of Education. Read more

Joel Hernandez
Insights Newsletter
12 February, 2021
algebra1 v2

World-leading mediocrity

New Zealand is now below average for all but one international education TIMSS measure. Released this week, the 2019 Trends in Mathematics and Science Study (TIMSS) reveals Kiwi 10-year-olds are now the only group of students performing above the international average in science. Read more

Joel Hernandez
Insights Newsletter
11 December, 2020
Child reading v2

Grassroots rebellions

Kiwi students are not learning the literacy skills they need and now some schools are paying from their own pocket in a desperate attempt to reverse the dismal trend. Both domestic and international data show a major problem in New Zealand literacy levels. Read more

Joel Hernandez
Insights Newsletter
4 December, 2020
Classroom student

To graduation and beyond

All around the country Kiwi students are in the thick of their long-awaited NCEA exams. Many of which will now have a new appreciation for the immense value of schooling – particularly after being locked out for several weeks this year. School is more than cheap day-care. Read more

Joel Hernandez
Insights Newsletter
20 November, 2020

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