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 Q.S. 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 studying in Australia is desirable, but what about the Australian education system for international students? This blog post will focus on explaining some basic education information about what Australia offers and how studying in Australia works. It also provides international students with tips that will help you prepare before your arrival here!
The Australian education system is a complex and diverse network of educational institutions or providers that provide students access to public and private preschools, primary schools, secondary schools, government schools, vocational colleges, and higher education (universities).
Regulated by the Department of Education, the Australian education system 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 education in Australia: kindergarten – preschool – primary school – secondary school – tertiary education – vocational, TAFE, or higher education (university-level) courses.
The school education year is divided into two semesters that start in January and July.
Australian Education for International Students
Australia is a leading global provider of education to international students, and in 2012 was ranked the third-largest provider of international education after the U.S. and U.K. Australia has the highest ratio of overseas students per head of population by far because 812,000 are enrolled at universities throughout their country with no other countries coming close,
In 1966, the Australian Government signed the Convention Against Discrimination in Education, which aimed to combat discrimination and racial segregation in education.
Primary Secondary and Tertiary Education
The duration for a primary and secondary school in Australia would depend on which level of schooling you are pursuing.
Primary school usually takes five to eight years, with children aged four or five.
Secondary education comprises 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 have become less popular than it was previously.”
Tertiary education in Australia provides opportunities for students to work towards academic and professional qualifications. The Australian education system of the 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 in Australia is just a type of schooling that takes place after completing secondary school requirements. What separates higher education from other types is including 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 the institution.
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 learning institution.
Vocational education is the in-school training or practical learning of students in Australia to find employment as apprentices or qualified vocational workers.
Universities and Vocational education typically lead 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.
The pathway programs in Australia are available for high school students who want to fulfill their educational requirements before entering university courses. The programs are also available for international students.
The pathways offer them guidance and counseling while dealing with the pressures of transitioning from high school to tertiary education or employment.
There are many pathways to higher education for international students, including foundation studies and English language training preparation programs. These ensure that these students receive the extra support they need to succeed in their school careers!
Australian Qualifications Framework (AQF)
The Australian Qualifications Framework (AQF) is an act established to guide Australia’s regulatory framework for qualifications. It is part of an education system regulated by the Department of Education.
It provides a framework for developing, articulating, and assessing qualifications across Australia at all levels in full-time or part-time education.
The AQF consists of six levels – Access, Foundation, Intermediate, Senior Secondary Certificate of Education (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.”
Higher Education in Australia
An undergraduate degree is a qualification obtained after completing a bachelor’s degree in universities in Australia. To complete an undergraduate graduate program in Australia, students need about three years of study and get the credits required for graduation.
Successful completion of an undergraduate course often helps candidates find the postgraduate study with better chances because they are considered more qualified.
Most universities offer both courses as intermediate programs before continuing to master or doctoral degrees.
A postgraduate or master’s degree is a graduate-level academic qualification, sometimes regarded as an academic degree in its own right.
In universities in Australia, postgraduate courses of study typically entail either research (i.e., conducting theoretical or empirical inquiry), 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 called “Masters”) and Doctoral degrees (Doctoral programs).
Vocational Education and Training (VET)
What is Vocational Education and Training Australia?
Vocational Education and Training (VET) is a comprehensive education part of the Australian education system, regulated by the Department of Education. It typically focuses on providing skills for work. Vocational training offers the necessary tools to help people find jobs, up-skill in their field of choice, or go back into the workforce after taking time off.
With this type of curriculum, VET can provide individuals with many opportunities like joining the workforce for the first time, re-joining an already established career path, upgrading one’s skillset in a chosen profession, and achieving higher salary levels by specializing knowledge.
Australian vocational education sector has a partnership between the Australian Government and industry. The Australian Government provides qualifications from Technical and Further Education (TAFE) institutions, while private institutes offer training programs based on demand by employers.
What are the vocational courses in Australia?
- Design & Media.
- Trades & Sports.
How many vocational trainings are there in Australia?
In 2017, VET courses were provided by: 3,156 private training providers. 442 community education providers. 398 schools. Several vocational courses that are in demand are:
Vocational education and training (VET) qualifications
VET qualifications are outcome-based and focus on the occupational skills and competencies gained. The Australian Qualifications Framework (AQF) recognizes prior learning or current competence in the industry, making credit transfer easier while offering students flexible pathways for their education.
There are various VET certificates available, from Certificate I through to IV and Diploma courses that go up to the Advanced Diploma level.
Your VET course will broaden your skills in a specialized area that teaches you the practical experience you’ll need for the workplace. It will train you to design, plan, and execute your field’s functional and technical aspects in an industry context.
VET For International Students
There are several entry requirements for international students.
- First of all, you must have a valid passport.
- Additionally, you are required to have a completed degree of minimum Australian year 10, 11, or 12, depending on what level you want to start your education at.
- Another important condition is proof of the English language. Most of the schools require an IELTS certificate at the level of min. 5.0 or its equivalents such as PTE or TOEFL. Some schools conduct internal English tests, accept certificates of completion of the General English course in Australia or even overseas.
- Some courses might need work experience while others may have prerequisite subjects.
5 Tips for preparing to study in Australia for international students
When you have already decided to study and get an education in Australia, here are several tips for international students:
- Learn about the education system in Australia
- Research the cost of living in Australia and the Australian Universities average tuition fees
- Find out what your student visa will cover and what it won’t
- Make sure you have enough money to buy a plane ticket and pay for food, housing, etc while studying abroad
- Contact an international student advisor at your school or university before going to make sure they can provide any support needed while studying abroad
- Prepare yourself mentally for a new culture.