Education In Australia

Education in Australia is the responsibility of the states and territories. Each state and territory Government provides funding as well as regulates the public and private schools within their governing area.

The Federal government also funds independent or private schools and helps fund the public universities.  From 2012 they are not involved in setting university curriculum.

The Australian National Curriculum, under development and trial for several years, has now been adopted.

Education in Australia follows the three-tier model which includes primary education (primary schools), followed by secondary education (secondary schools/high schools) and tertiary education (Universities, TAFE colleges and Vocation Education and Training providers/VET providers).

The Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA) 2006 evaluation ranked the Australian education system as sixth for reading, eighth for science and thirteenth for mathematics, on a worldwide scale including 56 countries. The PISA 2009 evaluation ranked the Australian education system as sixth for reading, seventh for science and ninth for mathematics, an improvement relative to the 2006 rankings.

In 2012, education firm Pearson ranked Australian education as thirteenth in the world.

The Education Index, published with the UN‘s Human Development Index in 2008, based on data from 2006, lists Australia as 0.993, the highest in the world.

Education in Australia is compulsory between the ages of five and fifteen, sixteen or seventeen, depending on the state or territory, and date of birth. Post-compulsory education is regulated within the Australian Qualifications Framework, a unified system of national qualifications in schools, vocational education and training (TAFE) and the higher education sector (university).

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 in the inter-term holidays and TAFE colleges, and from late February until mid-November for universities with seasonal holidays and breaks for each educational institute.

Major Australian cites have private tutoring provided by private institutions like Dux College who have two teaching locations in Sydney. This type of education provider caters for students that need extra assistance and revision of the curriculum being taught and tips for sitting exams.



Pre-school and pre-prep programmes in Australia are relatively unregulated, and are 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.  This sort of activity is not generally considered schooling, as pre-school education is separate from primary school in all states and territories, except Western Australia where pre-school education is taught as part of the primary school system.  In Queensland, pre-school 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.

Pre-schools are usually run by the state and territory governments, except in Victoria, South Australia and New South Waleswhere they are more often run by local councils, community groups or private organisations. Pre-school is offered to three- to five-year-olds; attendance numbers vary widely between the states, but 85.7% of children attended pre-school the year before school.  The year before a child is due to attend primary school is the main year for pre-school education. This year is far more commonly attended, and may take the form of a few hours of activity during weekdays.

Responsibility for pre-schools in New South Wales and Victoria, lies with the Department of Education and Communities and the Department of Education and Early Childhood Development(DEECD), respectively.  In all other states and territories of Australia, responsibility for pre-schools lie with the relevant education department.

A recent survey noted the average net cost (taking into account the Child Care Benefit and Child Care Tax Rebate entitlements) for a long day care in Australia is $3.85 per hour,  or a net cost of around $46 a day for a long day care service offering 12-hour days.

Tertiary Education

Tertiary education (or higher education) in Australia is primarily study at university or a technical college studying Diploma or above in order to receive a qualification or further skills and training. A higher education provider is a body that is established or recognised by or under the law of the Australian Government, a State, the Australian Capital Territory or the Northern Territory. VET providers, both public and private are registered by State and Territory governments.

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.

There are non-self-accrediting higher education providers accredited by State and Territory authorities, numbering more than 150 as listed on State and Territory registers. These include several that are registered in more than one State and Territory.