education system australia

Australian Education System for International Students

Australia is a hugely popular destination for international students from all around the world. It has been ranked as one of the top five destinations for international tertiary study by QS World University Rankings in 2013 and it was voted the second most welcoming country for immigrants in an OECD survey in 2012.

There are many reasons why Australia is such a desirable place to study, but what about the Australian education system? The focus of this blog post will be on explaining some basic information about how studying in Australia works. It is also providing you with tips that will help you get prepared before your arrival here!

Education System in Australia

The education system in Australia is a complex and diverse network of educational institutions or education providers that provide students with access to public and private pre-schools, primary schools, secondary schools, government schools, vocational colleges, universities.

Australia has compulsory education for children aged between six and 17 years, with the period of schooling varying by state or territory.

There are four different stages of school: kindergarten – preschool education (4-5), primary education (6-8), secondary education (9-12) and tertiary education – vocational, TAFE or university level courses.

The school year is divided into two semesters that start on the first day of January and July each year.

Primary and Secondary Education

The duration for primary school and secondary school in Australia would depend on which level of schooling you are pursuing.

Primary schooling usually takes five to eight years, with children starting aged four or five.

Secondary education is made up of high schools that range from three-year courses such as year 10/12 (the final years) to the more common one-year senior studies program, such as year 12.

Most people will undertake a combination thereof although senior studies has become less popular than it was previously.”

Tertiary Education

Tertiary education in Australia provides opportunities for students to work towards academic and professional qualifications. The system of tertiary education sector is understood as the aggregation of higher education (undergraduate and postgraduate), and vocational education training (VET) offered at universities, TAFE institutions and private providers such as colleges.

Higher education

Higher education is just a type of schooling that takes place after completing the requirements of secondary school. What separates higher education from other types is the inclusion of one or more degrees, diplomas, or graduate certificates.

Higher education institutions offer classes and lessons on tertiary-level coursework to people who have completed sufficient undergraduate study, gaining them entrance into said institution for completion.

Courses offered range in various topics related to economics, history, sciences and languages among others; and completion will usually result in receiving a certificate relating to their study in this institution of learning.

Vocational Education

Vocational education is the in-school training or practical learning of students so that they can find employment as apprentices or qualified vocational workers.

Vocational education typically leads to qualifications such as diplomas and certificates for those seeking manual trades, while university degrees may be sought by those aspiring towards management positions.

Participants usually learn theory about the type of work they aim to do during a vocational course and then develop practical skills through hands-on workshops supervised by an occupational trainer from a workplace.

Pathway Programs

The pathway programs in Australia are available for high school students who want to fulfill their educational requirements before they enter university courses.

The pathways offer them with guidance and counselling while they deal with the pressures of transitioning from high school to tertiary education or employment.

Australian Qualification Framework (AQF)

The Australian Qualification Framework (AQF) is an act established to guide the regulatory framework for qualifications in Australia.

It provides a framework for the development, articulation and assessment of qualifications across Australia at all levels in full-time or part-time education.

The AQF consists of six levels – Access, Foundation, Intermediate, Senior Secondary (School Certificate / Vocational Education and Training), Higher Education and Postgraduate Research. There are just over 2 850 qualifications on offer in these levels, from certificates to doctoral degrees.”

Undergraduate Degree

An undergraduate degree is a qualification obtained after completing a bachelor’s degree in Australian universities. In order to complete an undergraduate graduate program in Australia, students need about three years of study and must get the credits required for graduation in the program.

Successful completion of an undergraduate course often helps candidates find postgraduate study with better chances because they are considered more qualified.

Today, most universities offer both courses as an intermediate programs before continuing on to master or doctoral degrees.

Postgraduate Degree

A postgraduate or masters degree is a graduate-level academic qualification, sometimes regarded as an academic degree in its own right.

In Australia, postgraduate courses of study normally entails either research (i.e., conducting theoretical or empirical enquiry), specializing in a particular area or gaining professional qualifications such as those required for certain professions like law, teaching and medicine.

As with almost all Australian tertiary education courses there are often many different types of postgraduate degrees offered at any one institution – the most common being, Master’s degrees (often simply called “Masters”) and Doctoral degrees (Doctoral programs).

5 Tips for preparing to study in Australia for international students

  1. Research the cost of living in Australia 
  2. Find out what your student visa will cover and what it won’t 
  3. Make sure you have enough money to buy a plane ticket and pay for food, housing, etc while studying abroad 
  4. Contact an international student advisor at your school or university before going to make sure they can provide any support needed while studying abroad 
  5. Prepare yourself mentally for a new culture.





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