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Education in Australia is primarily the responsibility of states and territories. Each state or territory government provides the funding and regulates the public and private schools with its governing area, The federal government funds the universities, but these set their own curriculum. Generally, 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 and/or TAFE Colleges).
Each state has a Vocational Education and Training (VET) or Technical and Further Education (TAFE) system. VET prepares people for work in a career that does not need a university degree. Each state manages their system and meets at a national level to coordinate their effort. VET is transferable between all states. Study done in one state gains the same status in another state. Typically, a VET/TAFE course takes two years of study.
The national government provides the funding for universities in all the states. Each is independent in its governance. They set their courses and course content. A professional body must endorse a course for it to run. Typically, a university course takes three or four years of study.
Education providers who wish to offer courses to international students on a student visa must be registered on the Commonwealth Register of Institutions and Courses for Overseas Students (CRICOS).
The Programme for International Student Assessment for 2006 ranks the Australian education system as 6th on a worldwide scale for Reading, 8th for Science and 13th for Mathematics. The Education Index, published with the UN`s Human Development Index in 2008, based on data from 2006, lists Australia as 0.993, amongst the highest in the world, tied for first with Denmark, Finland and New Zealand.
Education for domestic students is compulsory up to an age specified by legislation; this age varies from state to state but is generally 15-17, which is prior to completing secondary education. 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 institutions, but generally runs from late January/early February until 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, Australian schools, colleges and universities enjoy an international reputation for excellence. Academic staffs in universities are recruited internationally, and graduates from Australian colleges and universities are employed all over the world. All teachers in Australian high schools and colleges are university qualified. There are more than 600,000 students studying in Australian universities and over 160,000 of these are international students.
For more accurate & updated information, please visit www.immi.gov.au