Education in Australia

The system

Australian Qualifications Framework

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The education system in Australia follows a three-tier model, which includes primary education, followed by secondary education (secondary schools/high schools) and tertiary education (Universities, TAFE colleges and Vocation Education and Training providers).

Formal schooling in Australia starts with a kindergarten or preparatory year, followed by 12 years of primary and secondary school. Education in Australia is compulsory between the ages of five to fifteen (or up to seventeen years of age, depending on the state or territory). In the final year of secondary school, Year 12 students can study for the Senior Secondary Certificate of Education (commonly referred to as Year 12 certificate), which is required for entry by most Australian universities and vocational education and training institutions. It is also recognised as an entry requirement by many international universities.

Quality of education

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The Tertiary Education Quality and Standards Agency (TEQSA) is Australia’s regulator for higher education. It ensures all Australian universities and other higher education providers are registered by TEQSA and meet the requirements of the Higher Education Threshold Standards.

The Australian Qualifications Framework (AQF) specifies the standards for educational qualifications in Australia. It is the national policy for regulated qualifications in Australian education and training. It incorporates qualifications from each education and training sector into a single comprehensive national qualifications framework.

The Department of Education also manages the guidelines for the presentation, content, issuing and authentication of the Australian Higher Education Graduation Statement (AHEGS). It also establishes the guidelines for individuals or groups wanting to use the word ‘university’ in their business, company or domain name.

The Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA) 2006 evaluation ranked the Australian education system as 6th for reading, 8th for science and 13th for mathematics; on a worldwide scale including 56 countries. On the PISA 2009 evaluation, the Australian education system was ranked 6th for reading, 7th for science and 9th for mathematics; an improvement from the 2006 rankings. The Education Index, published with the UN’s Human Development Index in 2008 and based on data from 2006; lists Australia as 0.993, amongst the highest in the world, tied for first with Denmark and Finland.

More information can be found in:https://education.gov.au/

CURRICULUM AND ASSESSMENT

In Schools: The Australian Curriculum, Assessment and Reporting Authority (ACARA) are an independent statutory authority that will improve the learning of all young Australians through a world-class school curriculum, assessment and reporting. They take a national approach to education through developing and implementing a robust and comprehensive national curriculum.

Australian schools do more than just educate students. They prepare them for life − developing communication skills, self-discipline and respect for themselves, their peers and their world. Schools offer a broad curriculum in the key learning areas – English, mathematics, studies of society and the environment, science, arts, Languages Other Than English (LOTE), technology, health and physical education. They also believe strongly in the benefits of a rounded education – including the teamwork, self-expression and personal development that happen outside the classroom.

In Higher Education: curriculum and assessment varies from one institution to the other. The main forms of assessment include: theoretical essays, scientific report, group work, individual or group project, presentation, written exam, dissertation and so on.

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THE ACADEMIC YEAR

The academic year in Australia varies between states and institutions, but generally, it runs from late January/early February until mid-December for primary and secondary schools. There are slight variations in the inter-term holidays and for TAFE colleges. For universities, the academic year begins from late February until mid-November, with seasonal holidays and breaks for each educational institute.

A typical school day (up to High School) is from around 8:30am to 3:30pm, Monday to Friday. Students tend to move from classroom to classroom rather than staying in one room, and even moving outside the classroom with our interactive teaching methods

CLASS SIZE AND RATIOS

According to Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) statistics, in secondary schools world-wide:

  • Average class size is 24 students
  • Student/teacher ratio is 11.75

Student life

Student life is always exciting and full of surprises when you study in Australia. There are many various places to explore and activities to engage in while you are completing your degree. Here are some examples of student life you will experience in different Australian cities:

Brisbane
Melbourne
Sydney
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Brisbane is the capital city of Queensland and the third largest city in Australia. Consequently, It boasts of all the attractions and facilities of a large city. Brisbane provides world-class educational facilities, mixed with a vibrant and active lifestyle. Brisbane is a friendly multicultural river city that offers the best of bustling urban life, while having many relaxing escapes within short driving distances. Throughout the year, you can get involved in a number of annual festivals and events that take place in the city, including the Brisbane Seafood and Wine Festival, the Mercedes Benz Fashion Festival, the Brisbane International Film Festival and the Valley Fiesta.

For those looking for adventure, Brisbane offers a range of exciting experiences including motorcycle tours, adventure parks, hot air ballooning, river cruises, kayaking, skydiving and go-karting, as well as various walking and mountain biking tracks and national parks. Considered a cultural hub when it comes to arts and entertainment, Brisbane features a full calendar of opera, ballet, musicals, concerts, art exhibitions, with a variety of theatres to choose from. This includes a moonlight cinema allowing you to make the most of Brisbane’s pleasant evening weather.

An inaugural ranking of the most student-friendly cities in the world, Melbourne was ranked fourth, just behind Paris, London and Boston. The research group behind the ‘QS World University Rankings’ also listed Sydney at No. 6 – making Australia the only country in the world with two cities in the top 10! Melbourne’s high rating comes despite several years of bad international publicity, following a series of attacks on Indian students in 2009. Furthermore, the strong Australian dollar and strict student visa requirements resulted in a recent drop in international enrolments, which the matter is now currently being reviewed.

Harry Liu, who moved to Melbourne from Beijing two years ago to study a master of computing at RMIT, couldn’t agree more. ”I love the people here and enjoy my study … it is not cheap but not too expensive for me,” says the 25-year-old, who shares a house in Carnegie with four other students. He says he enjoys Melbourne’s restaurants and karaoke bars the most. ”I try a lot of Chinese restaurants, but also some Italian food. And I love going to karaoke a lot with my friends,” he says.

Rated third best city in the world to live in (2011 City Rep Trak index), it’s no surprise that students from over 200 international backgrounds come to live and study in Sydney. Renowned for its unique combination of urban and outdoor living; culturally diverse and friendly community; Sydney is a fun and inspiring city in which to live and study. The beautiful harbour, pristine beaches and temperate climate mean you will be able to enjoy an active, outdoor lifestyle; while a vibrant social and cultural scene, with museums, theatres, galleries and hundreds of restaurants, bars and cafes will give you the chance to meet and make new friends, no matter what your interests.

Sydney is also Australia’s number one business destination. With many multinational companies located here, it accounts for 30% of the country’s economic activity. Set around a stunning natural harbour, Sydney offers the best of urban and outdoor living. A temperate climate means that you have all year round to enjoy it. Many campuses are located in the vibrant central business district, putting you in the heart of the action, amidst restaurants, cinemas, theatres and shops. Meet friends in the cafés of fashionable Newtown and Surry Hills, kayak under the Sydney Harbour Bridge, and learn to surf on Bondi Beach or jump on a train to the Blue Mountains. And don’t forget the city highlights – Sydney Opera House, the NSW Art Gallery and Botanic Gardens are all within easy reach of the campus.

Study cost

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Course Fees

Course fees vary widely between types of study and education institutions. When calculating your fees base your estimates on the upcoming year (costs can vary from year to year) and use the International Student fees schedule. If you are unsure of costs, contact the institution where you wish to study. The announcements made in May 2014 by the Australian Government in regards to possible changes to university fees from 2016, apply to fees for domestic students only. These potential changes are NOT intended to apply to international students. By Australian law, education institutions must give indicative course related fees, including advice on the potential for fees to change during courses before students enrol. Many Victorian institutions have been quick to confirm there are no plans to change how fees are set.

Material Fees

You may need to buy equipment, textbooks or clothing (i.e. for catering or mechanics) for some courses. These resource and material fees will depend on the needs of your particular course.

The cost of textbooks can vary depending on which courses you have enrolled in. To find out which textbooks you need, check if your unit has any required reading. Some institutions have their own student bookshops, which should stock some of the widely-used textbooks. If you only need a textbook for a short time, you could borrow it from a library or buy a second-hand one.

Alternatively, check campus noticeboards for second-hand textbooks being sold by last year’s students. If you are buying a second-hand textbook, double check the title, edition and publisher to match that which is currently being used for your subject. If in doubt, check with your lecturer or tutor.

Normally, assessments need to be typewritten, so you need to have access to a computer or laptop. The price of these computers is decreasing but if you need a cheaper option, look at a second-hand or trading sites (such as ebay.com) for one. Be aware, second-hand hardware and software will probably not be covered for fault repair costs.

You might be able to print your assessments out at a computer lab or at the library on campus; or in some institutions, you may simply be required to submit your work online.