The National Party says it will make schools more accountable for their results and move towards higher minimum qualifications for teachers if it is re-elected.
The party launched its education policy on Monday, which proposes new limits on student loan borrowing and aims to get more children into early childhood education.
National will maintain the controversial national standards in reading, writing and maths and says it will strengthen schools' accountability for student achievement - a promise that will ring alarm bells for teacher unions.
It proposes a shift to post-graduate qualifications for all teachers and continues National's goal of getting more children into early childhood education before they start school.
In tertiary education, National says it would block borrowing for students who change courses too often.
Leader John Key says the party left its policy until the last week to highlight the importance it places on education.