Education of Australia

Statistics show that in recent years Australia provided better education, with the significant rise in vocational or higher education qualification.

Public expenditure on education is around 5-6% of gross domestic product (GDP) where around 50% of it goes to primary and secondary education & 25-30% to university education.

Primary and secondary education was provided to more than 3 million students where close to 70% attended government schools. An estimated 700,000 are employed in the education industry, representing 7% of the workforce.

Education is compulsory for ages 6 and 5 (6 in Tasmania). Although for most children, it usually begins between ages 3 and 5, depending on state or territory, with one year of pre-school and continues into 13 years of schooling (12 in Queensland and Western Australia) starting with primary school and goes on to junior and senior secondary school. Further education is pursued at either a tertiary institution or a College of Technical and Further Education (TAFE) after secondary schooling.

The Australian school system is considered one of the best and has an international reputation. In mathematics and the world-wide articulation test, Australia is in the top ten, leaving behind most of the western countries including the United States and England. Australia also ranks third of all English speaking countries in preference for foreign students in higher education.

In Australia there are close to 10,000 schools (more than a quarter of them are private), and over 30 universities. The percent who graduate grade 12 is relatively high, over 75%. Enrollment in public schools is free; however, in most cases the expenses for textbooks and uniforms are the parent’s burden.

More than a quarter of Australian students study at private schools, and the percentage becomes even higher during the last school years. They include schools that learn in an alternative method, such as Rudolf Steiner Montessori, schools with a religious orientation, and schools for the gifted.

The number of students in higher education throughout the continent is over 600,000, and most of the universities have a number of branches spread out at various campuses throughout the cities and some even in other states. In 2003, more than 150,000 foreign students arrived, according to the Australian Department of Immigration.