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Education in Australia


Australia is an outstanding educational hub that provides a wide range of high-quality education services from primary education and English courses to highest tertiary degrees. Offering over 20 thousand courses and over 1,200 educational institutions, it attracts thousands of international students from all over the world and especially from neighbouring countries of Asia Pacific. The state maintains top-notch standards in international education and provides full protection striving to retain its position as one of the 5 premium educational destinations in the world. 

Australian’s Education World Ranking

  • Australia is home to 7 out of 100 world’s best universities.
  • 5 out of world’s 30 best student cities are located down under.
  • Local education scored 6.6 out of 10 according to the OECD (Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development).
  • Australian education is 13th best in the world according to Pearson, a company specialising in education.
  • In 2009, Australia’s reading was the 6th, science the 7th, and maths the 9th in the world according to the Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA).
  • There are 43 educational institutions in Australia (among which 2 are international, and 1 is private).
  • Australian National University is ranked 25th in the QS World University Rankings, 2014.

Expenditure and Costs of studying in Australia

If look at the educational expenditure as a percentage of GDP, Australia isn’t among top spenders: it was 5.1% in 2011 while in the UK and the US it was 5.8% and 5.2% accordingly. Every year, Australian government invests over 200 million AUD in building up country’s prominent international scholarship.

Australia wasn’t mentioned in the list of “the most costly countries for university education” published by the Expert Market in 2015. The list was based on Quacquarelli Symmonds university rankings and contained countries whose percentage of average salary spent on education was remarkably high. It seems that although Australian education is costly, it is still affordable for its nationals.

Tuition fees in Australia depend on the qualification you choose. The Bachelor Degree, which is very demonstrative, would cost you from 15k to 33k AUD while, in the UK and the US, you would have to pay over 40k USD and over 90k USD accordingly. For the Australian Master’s Degree, you will be charged a bill ranging from 20k to 37k AUD; English studies would cost you around 300 AUD a week.

From 2016, new tuition fees will be introduced; however, they will refer only to domestic education and won’t affect international students. Parents of local students are going to receive larger bills for their children’s education after the government shortens its subsidy programs and removes limits for the tuition fees. Citizens and holders of permanent (humanitarian) visas get access to the state’s loan program for higher education (HELP).

Education System

Education of the little ones in Australia is based on the principles of respect, self-discipline, communication, and teamwork. It contains such stages:

Primary Education

Starts from the kindergarten and ends with the 7th grade of the primary school

In Australia, kids attend primary school at the age of 6-7 and finish it at the age of 12-13. The age of enrolment may vary for different states of the country. The number of preschool years included to the primary education may also vary from state to state.

Secondary School / High School

Year 7-12

Education ends when children are 17-18 years old.

Senior Secondary School / College

Year 11-13

Youngsters get graduated when they are 18-19 years old.

This way, the school education lasts for 12-13 years, and it is mandatory until the child is at least 16-17 years old. Gifted kids are able to start studying in schools earlier and move from one grade to another much faster. Australia has a wide range of school types: from governmental and religious (Catholic or Anglican) and to independent schools which can be Protestant, Islamic or those based on pedagogical theories such as Montessori or Waldorf (called Steiner in Australia). In remote rural areas, home-schooling is legally permitted.

Governmental (public) schools are free of charge while religious and other independent types of schools are paid and the cost is quite high. Anyway, even a free education in a public school doesn’t cover other expenses such as textbooks, uniforms, stationery, camps and so on.

Regardless of pedagogical or religious conception, all schools and teachers must undergo registration with the state’s department of education and meet general requirements for schooling. Whatever school you choose, you kid will be given high-quality basic knowledge within the national curriculum framework adopted by all schools: maths, English, environment studies, foreign languages (other than English), health, science, art and physical education. Thanks to the coordination between the national curriculum and schools’ own methods and plans, certificates, which students get after passing exams at the end of their 12th (13th) year of education, are widely accepted in all tertiary and higher education institutions across the country.

Australian schools focus on practical knowledge and skills valuable in a modern world: communication, teamwork, creativity, and self-development. Schools use lots of non-traditional cutting-edge technologies and devices and involve students in research activities in order to make education more effective and captivating. If you take your child along when arriving for study in Australia, or you invite your family members down under after getting permanent visas for them, it is crucial that all school-age children are enrolled in the appropriate schools. Please bear in mind that each of the 8 Australian states has its own enrolment requirements for students and parents as well as its own tuition fees.

Tertiary Education

Australia is home to 43 higher educational institutions 2 of which are international and 1 is private. The country offers competitive knowledge in medicine, art & humanity, life and social science, engineering, and finance. Whatever discipline you choose, you are likely to find a cool alma-mater in Australia because 7 of 100 world’s best universities are located here: the Australian National University, Universities of Melbourne and Sydney, and the University of Queensland – just to name a few.

Most of the top universities are located on the highly-populated eastern coast making the coastal Australia the most educated (9.7% of the population hold tertiary educational qualifications). The “backwoods” are the less educated: only 0.5% can boast a degree.

Commonly, international students arrive in Australia for the Bachelor’s (3-4 years), Master’s (1-2 years after the Bachelor’s Degree) and Doctor’s (3 years after the Master’s Degree) degrees. It is a popular practice in such fields as art, science, or law to get 2 combined Bachelor’s degrees at a time.

The government issues student visas to young people who pursue getting educated in Australian institutions. When you choose the course or the institution, it is crucial that they are approved by the CRICOS (Commonwealth Register of Institutions and Courses for Overseas Students). Otherwise, you cannot be guaranteed the highest standards of education you expect. The quality of education and wellbeing of foreign students are constantly monitored and checked against the cutting-edge standards in order to guarantee the highest level of knowledge and best experience. International students are protected by law and the ESOS (Education Services for Overseas Students) Act (2010).

The department of education has developed a very useful online service called Quality Indicators for Learning and Teaching where you can find the most up-to-date information about studying in Australia offered by former and present domestic and international students: their experience of education, a percentage of successful employment, approximate salaries, and so on. Visit this portal to match your expectation with the state of the art of Australian education.

Scholarship in Australia

Australia spends over 200 million AUD yearly on international scholarship programs. Country’s grants, scholarships, and bursaries will help you to save a lot on your way to your dream education. You should search for the scholarship referring to your field of study and your research goals. 3 the most popular scholarships are International Postgraduate Research Scholarship, Australia Award and APEC Women in Research Fellowship. Once you have found a suitable scholarship, you can apply for it directly with the scholarship provider (an institution).


If you want to polish your knowledge and obtain unique hands-on working experience while studying at your university, Australia is the perfect place to start your career. Internship embraces various options of temporary employment: from working in educational institutions to working in the company of your industry and from paid jobs to unpaid ones. Obtaining professional experience in a well-developed country, pulling up English, polishing skills and developing new ones, connecting with lots of influential and talented people, establishing a reputation for getting back to the country for a real long-term job are just a few reasons why Australia attracts so many interns every year.

The government has developed several student and employment visas that imply different conditions of your stay in Australia. For example, they regulate the duration of your stay, the intensity of your internships (how many hours a week you can work), and whether you can be paid for your work. Before applying for a visa, weigh all pros and cons with a visa consultant in order to find the most comfortable visa solution.

Vocational Education and Training

If you want to benefit from your vacation, Australia has lots of vocational courses and programs to offer you. Its government collaborates with state educational institutions and industries (retail, construction, mining, transport, health, and so on) in order to develop, fund, and organize training for foreign manpower and students in all possible niches of the economy. Yearly, Australian Vocational Education and Training courses welcome over 230 thousand international students.

Attending such training, you are able to learn from expert teachers who know all angles of your specialisation from their working experience. The focus of such training isn’t the theory (although it is also provided in its state-of-the-art form), but rather the hands-on knowledge which is achieved by on-site training and mentorship of experts. Depending on the student’s current level of expertise, duration of training and the showed result, VET provides various types of diploma and certificates (I-IV). You are able to boost your career, obtaining the wide range of qualifications: from an operator to supervisor to junior manager.

Australian’s Academic Achievements

A sure indicator of how much knowledge is valued in a country is the number of the Nobel Prize laureates this country gave the world. So far, Australia set fire to 15 Nobel stars. Country’s laureates, engineers and scientists made an outstanding contribution to such world’s tremendous innovations as Wi-Fi, black box recorders for airplanes, penicillin, and ultrasound.

Due to a variety of pedagogical approaches, diversity in regulations between states, and unity in general values of the national curriculum, Australian education is versatile, effective and able to meet needs of a diverse group of foreigners. The government maintains the highest standards of education and takes care of the wellbeing of international students. The Australian system of education, which values practical learning and cooperation, provides competitive skills and knowledge crucial for thriving in today’s globalised world.

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