The Australian education system is one of the best organized and operated systems in the world. The education of Australian children generally start at the age of 5 or 6, but it may differ by a narrow margin between states. Preschool education is available for children in Australia but is not compulsory. Children can be directly admitted to school without any restriction. Australians are compulsory to attend primary and secondary school in order to further their education. There are a large number of primary and high school across the country with most of them being public schools. It is estimated that public schools amount to 60% of scholars as opposed to 40% in private settings. All these education providers must be licensed by the government and must fulfill certain requirements including infrastructure and teaching. Universities and colleges are the institutions for higher education. Colleges are mostly private institutions. Universities, on the other hand, are mainly public institutions.
The Australian education system has established a standard curriculum so all scholars will be given the same quality of education. Some states have modified the curriculum to an extent, but the change is not going to affect the quality of education in any way. The actual curriculum set out in Australia education system is based on important abilities one must have in his life: Literacy, Numeracy, Information and communication technology, Critical and creative thinking, personal and social capability, ethical understanding, and intercultural understanding.
Education providers at all levels in Australia must satisfy certain requirements related to their facilities. With this being said, these institutions are equipped with computers and the Internet and have advanced laboratories.
The Australian Qualifications Framework (AQF)
The Australian Qualifications Framework is the Australian national policy for the recognized qualification. The policy has mentioned qualifications and minimum requirements for all the educational institutions in the country including the university. Your degree is valuable and authorized if the institution offering it to you meets the qualifications and requirements designated by the Australian Qualifications Framework.
The AQF was formed in 1995 to unify the education qualifications system in Australia. The framework covers higher education, vocational education and training, and schools. Thanks to this structured system, students can easily know at which level of education to move on. Further on, the AQF makes it easier for students to switch the course or even the university since your qualification will be recognized wherever you go within the country. It has 10 levels based on the type of qualification. For example, the Certificate I received in a Vocational Education Training is labeled as Level 1 while a Doctorate degree stands as the Level 10.
Do not forget to inquire about this qualification when you are doing your research for your university or college.
Vocational and Technical Schools
Actually, here it stands the difference between universities and colleges: the Vocational and Technical Schools are more oriented in teaching practical skills while university courses are mainly theory-based to lead students to different academic careers. Vocational and Technical schools prepare students that want to skip the university and want to move directly to the job market. There are hundreds of other schools out there that provide technical and further education (TAFE) and vocational education and training (VET). These schools offer short courses, certificates I through IV, diplomas, and advanced diplomas. They focus on training their students in a particular vocation or just to help their students get out into the workplace. These schools offer a wide variety of courses and qualifications attained by these courses can lead to different career pathways to follow afterward. These include, but are not limited to:
- Commercial training providers, usually run by a company or of their own accord.
- The training department of manufacturing or service enterprises, which provide services to the employees that they already have or employees that have just been hired.
- The training function of employer or employee organizations in a particular industry, which provides services to the employees that they already have or employees that have just been hired.
- Group Training Companies.
- Community learning centers and neighborhood houses.
- Secondary colleges providing VET programs.
These types of schools can award its students with one of the following qualifications:
Certificate I to IV: These courses last usually six months to a maximum of two years. They’re meant to learn students the foundation skills in industry issues, communication, literacy, and numeracy.
Diploma: It takes one to two years to take such qualification. The course is focused on preparing students to work in enterprises, industry etc.
Advanced diploma: These courses take 1.5 to 2 years of full-time study. It teaches students practical skills that will be useful in their future work areas such as Engineering, accounting etc.
Vocational graduate certificate/diploma: The graduate certificate takes usually six months to a year of full-time study while a diploma takes two years of full-time study. The course is meant to teach students specific work-related skills.
English language courses: Since English is an important detail to excel in education and in the job market, Vocational schools offer also a range of courses in the English language.
There are also a number of smaller schools that you can find, which are not accredited, that will give you the same quality of vocational and/or technical education for a lower price; you just have to do your research to see if you can find one that suits your needs.
Universities and Higher Education
Australian universities are the institutions that have made the country a leader in world education. The modernity and reputation of the higher education have highly been concentrated to the universities and training organizations in Australia. Currently, there are 43 universities across the country. The vast majority of universities are public except two private universities. Two Australians are branches of universities that are located overseas. The world-class teaching offered is surely undisputed. Seven Australian universities are traditionally found at the top 100 best universities in the world which is a sufficient indicator to highlight their quality.
Besides universities, more than 5,000 training organizations are registered and accredited. Actual figures show that the number of enrolled students is around 3.8 million with international students sharing more than half a million. There are also 3 self-accrediting higher education institutions. Furthermore, dozens of smaller schools that do not grant any degrees or have an accreditation – these are private schools that focus on theology, business, information technology, natural therapies, hospitality, health, law, and accounting.
Universities are more diverse in courses they offer than the colleges in Australia. It is important for you to be able to choose among the courses. For this, you need to have a thorough understanding of your abilities and interests. English courses are very common in particular. Presently, more than 120 English courses are available in Australian higher education. Below are just of the most popular study courses in Australia:
- Administration Courses
- Accounting Courses
- Agriculture Courses
- Architecture Courses
- Building Courses
- Environmental Studies Courses
- Computer Sciences Courses
- Engineering Courses
- Health Sciences Courses
- Finance Courses
- Humanities Courses
- Law Courses
- Journalism Courses
- Psychology Courses
Most Australian universities are self-accrediting public that each run under a legislation (usually at the state or territory level). They get most of their funding from the Australian government through the Higher Education Support Act 2003. This act put the existing aims of universities into legal terms, recognized each of the universities, and introduced measures to strengthen the knowledge base of the country. Essentially, this act made it so that Australian universities were able to obtain money from the federal government via grants and loans.
University itself designs the course to be taught in its curriculum and is not controlled by any government entity. However, the government legislations are binding to the universities and guide their actions. Even though the higher education system is more unified than that of other countries, each university is still able to set their own coursework and program requirements. As with most countries, the teacher education program is the exception to this rule; the Australian Institute for Teaching and School Leadership oversees any and all requirements related to becoming an educator in any age group.
Many Australian universities are featured in top 100 lists for international universities from around the world. The University of Melbourne and the Australian National University are two of the most well-known and well-respected universities in the world. If you are considering pursuing your higher education, whether vocational or academic, in Australia, you are in good hands. You will get a world-class education at a fair price that will make you ready for the world that you will be working on.