The Australian education system provides primary, secondary and tertiary education.
School education (Primary and Secondary)
School education is similar across all of Australia with only minor variations between states and territories. School education (primary and secondary) is compulsory between the ages of six and sixteen (Year 1 to Year 9 or 10). School education is 13 years and divided into:
Australia’s VET sector is based on a partnership between governments and industry. VET qualifications are provided by government institutions, called Technical and Further Education (TAFE) institutions, as well as private institutions. Australian governments (federal and state) provide funding, develop policies, and contribute to regulation and quality assurance of the sector. Industry and employer groups contribute to training policies and priorities, and in developing qualifications that deliver skills to the workforce.
VET qualifications are outcome-based and focus on the occupational skills and competencies gained. The Australian Qualifications Framework (AQF) recognises prior learning or current competence in the industry. This makes credit transfer easier and offers students flexible learning pathways. Qualifications range across four levels of certificates (Certificate I, II, III and IV), as well as Diploma courses and Advanced Diploma courses.
Tertiary education includes both higher education (including universities) and vocational education and training (VET).
Language of instruction
English is the official language of Australia and the main language of instruction in the education system. Many schools offer bilingual programs or programs in other languages.
Australian Qualifications Framework
The Australian education system is distinguished from many other countries by the Australian Qualifications Framework (AQF). The AQF was established in 1995 and is a national policy that covers qualifications from the tertiary education sector (higher education and vocational education and training) in addition to the school-leaving certificate; the Senior Secondary Certificate of Education.