If you have made the decision to immigrate your family to Australia one of your motivations might be to give your children access to one of the best educational systems in the world, but what do you know about Australian schools?
For instance did you know that;
- 99% of all Australians are literate with around 20% of the Australian population enrolled in some form of education at any given time?
- education in Australia is compulsory between the ages of five or six and fifteen, sixteen or seventeen, depending on the State or territory and date of birth.
- Approximately 40% of school going children are enrolled in private or independent schools
- the majority of Australia's universities are public, and student fees are subsidized
- The Education Index, published with the UN's Human Development Index in 2008, based on data from 2006, lists Australia as the highest in the world
- the academic year in Australia varies between States and institutions, but generally runs from late January/early February until early/mid-December for primary and secondary schools, with slight variations
- 85.7% of children attended pre-school the year before they start primary school
- international students studying in Australia reached record numbers in 2017 with more than 583,243 students enrolled at Australian educational institutions
- the Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA) evaluation in 2006 ranked the Australian education system as sixth for reading, eighth for science and thirteenth for mathematics, on a worldwide scale including 56 countries
- in 2012, education firm Pearson ranked Australian education as thirteenth in the world
A typical educational career in Australia would start with Early Childhood Education. We know it as preschool. At around age 5 preschool kids move on to their Primary Education at primary schools and once they graduate primary school followed by Secondary Education or high school which they typically finish around 17 years of age.
Most Australian children go on to study at a tertiary level. Tertiary education would be universities, TAFE colleges, and vocational education and training providers.
In Australia preschool is not compulsory. The first exposure many Australian children have to learning with others outside of traditional parenting is day care or a parent-run playgroup.
Only in Western Australia pre-school education is taught as part of the primary school system and in some Victorian schools. In Queensland, preschool programmes are often called Kindergarten or Pre-Prep, and are usually privately run but attract state government funding if run for at least 600 hours a year and delivered by a registered teacher.
The average cost per day for preschool is around AUD 40.00 for a 12-hour service.
Primary and secondary education
School education in Australia is compulsory between certain ages as specified by state or territory legislation. Depending on the state or territory, and date of birth of the child, school is compulsory from the age of five to six to the age of fifteen to seventeen. You can find out from your local school what the specific age requirement for that state is.
In recent years, over three quarters of students stay at school until they are seventeen. Government schools educate approximately 60% of Australian students, with approximately 40% in Catholic and independent schools.
Government schools (also known as public schools) are free to attend for Australian citizens and permanent residents, while Catholic and independent schools usually charge attendance fees.
All Australian schools are required to adhere to the same curriculum frameworks of their state or territory. The curriculum framework however provides for some flexibility in the syllabus, so that subjects such as religious education can be taught. Most school students wear uniforms although there are varying expectations and some Australian schools do not require uniforms.
Private and independent schools
Independent schools include schools operated by secular educational philosophies such as Steiner or Montessori; however, the majority of independent schools are religious, being Anglican, Protestant, Jewish, Islamic or non-denominational. In addition, many private schools are also Catholic.
Private schooling could cost anywhere between AUD 23 000 and AUD 40 000 per year.
As is the case in South Africa tertiary education (or higher education) in Australia is primarily means studying at a university or a technical college to obtain a diploma or degree.
There are several prominent universities located in Adelaide, Brisbane, Canberra, Melbourne, Perth and Sydney. There are 43 universities in Australia: 40 public universities, two international universities, one private university. The largest university in Australia is Monash University in Melbourne: it has five campuses and 75,000 students.
You won’t go wrong with an Australian education! In terms of rankings, 33 Australian educational institutions are listed in the QS World University Rankings for 2016, 31 institutions are listed in the Times Higher Education World University Rankings and 26 institutions in U.S. News & World Report's Best Global Universities Rankings.