School education (Primary and Secondary)
School education is similar across all of Australia with only minor variations between states and territories. School education (primary and secondary) is compulsory between the ages of six and sixteen (Year 1 to Year 9 or 10). School education is 13 years and divided into:
• Primary school – Runs for seven or eight years, starting at Kindergarten/Preparatory through to Year 6 or 7.
• Secondary school – Runs for three or four years, from Years 7 to 10 or 8 to 10.
• Senior secondary school – Runs for two years, Years 11 and 12.
Tertiary education in Australia is different from other countries and includes both higher education (including universities) and vocational education and training (VET).
The Australian higher education system consists of independent, self-governing public and private universities and higher education institutions that award higher education qualifications. There are 38 public universities and 3 private universities in Australia.
A higher education provider is either a:
• self-accrediting provider, or
• non self-accrediting provider.
The main qualifications awarded by universities in Australia are:
• Degree Title DurationBachelor Degree(General) 3 years full-time study
• Bachelor Degree (Professional) 4 years full-time study
• Bachelor Degree + Honours 3-4 years full-time + 1 additional year’s successful completion allows entry to a research Masters or Doctorate
Degree Title Duration
• Masters – Extended 3-4 years full-time study
• Masters by Coursework 1-2 years full-time study
• Masters by Research 1-2 years full-time study
• Doctoral Degree 3-5 years full-time study
• Doctoral Degree (Professional) 3-5 years full-time study
In most countries, a higher education sector is normally associate with universities, but Australia is one of a few countries that have a vocational education sector where a trainee is assessed by acquisition of competencies, and focus of education is on the development of skills relevant to a trade or field of skilled specialisation. Designed to deliver workplace-specific skills and knowledge, vocational education and training (VET) covers a wide range of careers and industries, including trade and office work, retail, hospitality and technology
VET sector is internationally recognized and provides world’s best practice in vocational training. Qualifications from these VET institutions are recognised worldwide. The VET sector consists of various public and private training institutions, also referred as Registered Training Organisations (RTOs).
The government funded or public training institutions are known as colleges or institutes of Technical and Further Education, or in short TAFE. All TAFE institutes offer a wide range of courses from Certificate level through to Advanced Diplomas, including undergraduate (Bachelor) degrees. While all TAFE institutions offer a range of training programmes, many institutions also provide training programmes in more specialized fields. A very small number are even accredited to offer Masters programs.
Language of instruction
English is the official language of Australia and the main language of instruction in the education system. Students willing to study in Australia need to demonstrate proficiency in English. Almost all Training Organisations have some minimum requirement before students are accepted for admission. An IELTS score of 5 or 5.5 is normally required for admission in most tertiary institutions and entry to university normally requires an IELTS score of 6or higher. All Language colleges offer programmes in General English. Most of these colleges also offer English programmes for IELTS (International English Language Testing System), FCE (First Certificate in English), CAE (Certificate in Advanced English) and TOEFL (Test of English as a Foreign Language). Academic Purposes (EAP) – courses designed especially to prepare students for further study. There are a large number of English language colleges which offer specialised language programmes such as ’Business English’ or ‘English for Tourism’.
Australian Qualifications Framework
The Australian education system is distinguished from many other countries by the Australian Qualification Framework (AQF). The AQF was established in 1995 and is a national policy that covers qualifications from the tertiary education sector (higher education and vocational education and training) in addition to the school-leaving certificate; the Senior Secondary Certificate of Education.
The AQF has 10 levels and links school, vocational and university education qualifications into one national system. This allows you to move easily from one level of study to the next, and from one institution to another, as long as you satisfy student visa requirements. It allows for choice and flexibility in career planning. All qualifications in the AQF help prepare you for both further study and your working life.
If you are studying an AQF qualification, you can be sure that your institution is Government-authorised and nationally accredited, and that your degree or other AQF qualification will be genuine.
Our institutions are linked across the country and across the world, which makes it easy to move throughout the education system between courses or institutions and formal agreement and recognition frameworks mean every step of the path will contribute to your future no matter what your study or career goals.