Education in Australia

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Education in Australia
National education budget
Budget$243.5 billion
General details
Primary languages English
System typeState
Established compulsory education1830s [1]
1870s [1]
Literacy (2003)
Total99% [2]
Male99% [2]
Female99% [2]
Enrollment (2008)
Total20.4% of population [3] [4]
Primary1.9 million [3]
Secondary1.4 million [3]
Post secondary1 million [5]

Education in Australia encompasses the sectors of early childhood education [6] (preschool) and primary education (primary schools), followed by secondary education (high schools), tertiary education (universities, TAFE colleges, and vocational education and training providers) and adult education (referred to as adult and community education or ACE) [7] . Regulation and funding of education is primarily the responsibility of the States and territories, but the Federal Government also plays a funding role. [8]

Early childhood education is a branch of education theory which relates to the teaching of children from birth up to the age of eight which is traditionally about third grade. It emerged as a field of study during the Enlightenment, particularly in European countries with high literacy rates. It continued to grow through the nineteenth century as universal primary education became a norm in the Western world. In recent years, early childhood education has become a prevalent public policy issue, as municipal, state, and federal lawmakers consider funding for preschool and pre-K. It is described as an important period in a child's development. It refers to the development of a child's personality. ECE is also a professional designation earned through a post-secondary education program. For example, in Ontario, Canada, the designations ECE and RECE may only be used by registered members of the College of Early Childhood Educators, which is made up of accredited child care professionals who are held accountable to the College's standards of practice.

Primary education first stage of compulsory education

Primary education also called an elementary education is typically the first stage of formal education, coming after preschool and before secondary education. Primary education usually takes place in a primary school or elementary school. In some countries, primary education is followed by middle school, an educational stage which exists in some countries, and takes place between primary school and high school. Primary Education in Australia consists of grades foundation to grade 6. In the United States, primary education is Grades 1 - 3 and elementary education usually consists of grades 1-6.

Secondary education education for most teenagers

Secondary education covers two phases on the International Standard Classification of Education scale. Level 2 or lower secondary education is considered the second and final phase of basic education, and level 3 (upper) secondary education is the stage before tertiary education. Every country aims to provide basic education, but the systems and terminology remain unique to them. Secondary education typically takes place after six years of primary education and is followed by higher education, vocational education or employment. Like primary education, in most countries secondary education is compulsory, at least until the age of 16. Children typically enter the lower secondary phase around age 11. Compulsory education sometimes extends to age 19.

Contents

Education in Australia is compulsory between the ages of five or six [9] and fifteen, sixteen or seventeen, depending on the State or territory and date of birth. [10]

For primary and secondary education, government schools educate approximately 60% of Australian students, with approximately 40% in non-government schools. [3] At the tertiary level, the majority of Australia's universities are public, and student fees are subsidised through a student loan program where payment becomes due when debtors reach a certain income level. [11]

Tertiary education fees in Australia fees charged to students who attend Australian tertiary education institutions

Tertiary education fees in Australia are payable for courses at tertiary education institutions. The central government, also known as the Commonwealth government, provides loans and subsidies to relieve the cost of tertiary education for some students. Some students are supported by the government and are required to pay only part of the cost of tuition, called the "student contribution", and the government pays the balance. Some government supported students can defer payment of their contribution as a HECS-HELP loan. Other domestic students are full fee-paying and do not receive direct government contribution to the cost of their education. Some domestic students in full fee courses can obtain a FEE-HELP loan from the Australian government up to a lifetime limit of $150,000 for medicine, dentistry and veterinary science programs and $104,440 for all other programs.

For primary and secondary schools, a national Australian Curriculum has been progressively developed and implemented since 2010. [12]

The Australian Curriculum is a national curriculum for all primary and secondary schools in Australia under progressive development, review, and implementation. The curriculum is developed and reviewed by the Australian Curriculum, Assessment and Reporting Authority, an independent statutory body. Since 2014 all states and territories in Australia have begun implementing aspects of the Foundation to Year 10 part of the curriculum.

The Education Index, published with the UN's Human Development Index in 2008, based on data from 2006, listed Australia as 0.993, the highest in the world. [13]

Education Index

The United Nations publishes a Human Development Index every year, which consists of the Education index, GDP Index and Life Expectancy Index. These three components measure the educational attainment, GDP per capita and life expectancy respectively.

United Nations Intergovernmental organization

The United Nations (UN) is an intergovernmental organization tasked with maintaining international peace and security, developing friendly relations among nations, achieving international co-operation, and being a centre for harmonizing the actions of nations. It was established after World War II, with the aim of preventing future wars, and succeeded the ineffective League of Nations. Its headquarters, which are subject to extraterritoriality, are in Manhattan, New York City, and it has other main offices in Geneva, Nairobi, Vienna and The Hague. The organization is financed by assessed and voluntary contributions from its member states. Its objectives include maintaining international peace and security, protecting human rights, delivering humanitarian aid, promoting sustainable development, and upholding international law. The UN is the largest, most familiar, most internationally represented and most powerful intergovernmental organization in the world. At its founding, the UN had 51 member states; there are now 193.

Human Development Index composite statistic of life expectancy, education, and income indices

The Human Development Index (HDI) is a statistic composite index of life expectancy, education, and per capita income indicators, which are used to rank countries into four tiers of human development. A country scores a higher HDI when the lifespan is higher, the education level is higher, and the gross national income GNI (PPP) per capita is higher. It was developed by Pakistani economist Mahbub ul Haq, with help from Gustav Ranis of Yale University and Meghnad Desai of the London School of Economics, and was further used to measure a country's development by the United Nations Development Program (UNDP)'s Human Development Report Office.

In 1966 Australia signed the Convention against Discrimination in Education, which aims to combat discrimination and racial segregation in the field of education.

Convention against Discrimination in Education is a multilateral treaty adopted by UNESCO on 14 December 1960 in Paris and came into effect on 22 May 1962, which aims to combat discrimination cultural or religious assimilation or racial segregation in the field of education. The Convention also ensures the free choice of religious education and private school, right to use or teach their own languages for national minorities. and prohibits any reservation. The Convention enters into force for each State 12 months after the deposit of instrument of ratification. As at December 2018, 104 states were members of the Convention.

Racial segregation separation of humans

Racial segregation is the systemic separation of people into racial or other ethnic groups in daily life. It may apply to activities such as eating in a restaurant, drinking from a water fountain, using a public toilet, attending school, going to the movies, riding on a bus, or in the rental or purchase of a home or of hotel rooms. Segregation is defined by the European Commission against Racism and Intolerance as "the act by which a person separates other persons on the basis of one of the enumerated grounds without an objective and reasonable justification, in conformity with the proposed definition of discrimination. As a result, the voluntary act of separating oneself from other people on the basis of one of the enumerated grounds does not constitute segregation". According to the UN Forum on Minority Issues, "The creation and development of classes and schools providing education in minority languages should not be considered impermissible segregation, if the assignment to such classes and schools is of a voluntary nature".

Regulation and funding

The regulation, operation, and funding of education is the responsibility of the States and territories, because the Federal Government does not have a specific constitutional power to pass laws with respect to education. [14] However, the Federal government helps fund non-government schools, [15] helps fund public universities and subsidises tertiary education through a national student loan scheme, [16] and regulates vocational education providers. [17]

Post-compulsory education is regulated within the Australian Qualifications Framework, a unified system of national qualifications in schools, vocational education and training, and the tertiary education sector.

The Federal Government's involvement in education has been the responsibility of a number of departments over the years, [18] the present version of which is the Department of Education and Training.

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 [19] [20] [21] [22] [23] [24] [25] [26] and TAFE colleges, [27] [28] [29] and from late February until mid-November for universities with seasonal holidays and breaks for each educational institute. [30]

Preschool

Preschool and pre-prep programmes in Australia are relatively unregulated, and are not compulsory. [31] The first exposure many Australian children have to learning with others outside of traditional parenting is day care or a parent-run playgroup. [32] This sort of activity is not generally considered schooling, as preschool 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 [33] and Victoria where the state framework, VEYLDF covers children from birth to 8 years old, is used by some schools over the federal framework. In Queensland, preschool 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. [34]

Preschools are usually run by the state and territory governments, except in Victoria, South Australia and New South Wales where they are more often run by local councils, community groups or private organisations. [33] Preschool 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. [35] The year before a child is due to attend primary school is the main year[ clarification needed ] for pre-school education. This year is far more commonly attended, and may take the form of a few hours of activity during weekdays. [36]

Primary and secondary education

Compulsory attendance requirements

People attending an infants or primary school as a percentage of the local population at the 2011 census, geographically subdivided by statistical local area Australian Census 2011 demographic map - Australia by SLA - BCP field 2817 Infants Primary Total Persons.svg
People attending an infants or primary school as a percentage of the local population at the 2011 census, geographically subdivided by statistical local area

School education in Australia is compulsory between certain ages as specified by state or territory legislation. Depending on the state or territory, and date of birth of the child, school is compulsory from the age of five to six to the age of fifteen to seventeen. [10]

In the ACT, [37] NSW, [38] the Northern Territory, [39] Queensland, [40] [41] South Australia, [42] [43] Victoria, [44] and Western Australia, [45] [46] children are legally required to attend school from the age of six years old, until the minimum leaving age. In Tasmania, the compulsory school starting age is 5 years old. [47]

In recent years, over three quarters of students stay at school until they are seventeen. Government schools educate approximately 60% of Australian students, with approximately 40% in non-government schools. [3] A small portion of students are legally home-schooled, particularly in rural areas. [48]

People attending secondary school as a percentage of the local population at the 2011 census, geographically subdivided by statistical local area Australian Census 2011 demographic map - Australia by SLA - BCP field 2829 Secondary Total Persons.svg
People attending secondary school as a percentage of the local population at the 2011 census, geographically subdivided by statistical local area

Government schools

Government schools (also known as public schools or State schools) are free to attend for Australian citizens and permanent residents, while non-government schools usually charge attendance fees and have values that are aligned with secularity or non-secularity. [49] However, in addition to attendance fees, stationery, textbooks, sports, uniforms, school camps and other schooling costs are not covered under government funding. In 2010 the additional cost for schooling was estimated to be on average $316 per year per child. [50] [51]

Across Australia, the Federal Department of Education sets the overall national policy and direction for education in Australia. The following state and territory government departments are responsible for the administration of education within their respective jurisdictions:

Regardless of whether a school is part of the Government, Catholic or independent systems, they are required to adhere to the same curriculum frameworks of their state or territory. The curriculum framework however provides for some flexibility in the syllabus, so that subjects such as religious education can be taught. Most school students wear uniforms, [52] although there are varying expectations and some Australian schools do not require uniforms. A common movement among secondary schools to support student voice has taken form as organisations such as the Victorian Student Representative Council (VicSRC) in Victoria bring together student leaders to promote school improvement.[ citation needed ]

Non-government schools

In 2010 66% of students in Australia attended government schools, 20% attended Catholic schools and 14% attended independent schools. [53] In 2000 these figures were 69%, 20% and 11% respectively.

Most Catholic schools are either run by their local parish, local diocese and their state's Catholic education department. [54] [55] Independent schools include schools operated by secular educational philosophies such as Steiner or Montessori; however, the majority of independent schools are religious, being Anglican, Protestant, Jewish, Islamic or non-denominational. In addition, some private schools are also Catholic, but independent of those run by the Church and Catholic education departments, which are classed as systemic schools. [56]

Some non-government schools charge high fees and because of this, Government funding for these schools is often controversial. [57] [58]

Tertiary education

People attending a tertiary institution as a percentage of the local population at the 2011 census, geographically subdivided by statistical local area Australian Census 2011 demographic map - Australia by SLA - BCP field 2865 University or other Tertiary Institution Total Persons.svg
People attending a tertiary institution as a percentage of the local population at the 2011 census, geographically subdivided by statistical local area

Tertiary education (or higher education) in Australia is primarily study at university or a technical college [59] studying Diploma or above in order to receive a qualification or further skills and training. [60] 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. [61] VET providers, both public and private are registered by State and Territory governments.

There are 43 universities in Australia: 40 public universities, two international universities[ clarification needed ] and one private university. [62] The largest university in Australia is Monash University in Melbourne: it has five campuses and 75,000 students. [63]

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.

All students doing nationally recognised training need to have a Unique Student Identifier (USI). [64]

International students

In 2017, the number of international students studying in Australia reached a new record of 583,243. This represented an increase of more than 10% on the previous year. [65] [66] The Australian onshore international education sector is predicted to rise from the current 650,000 enrolments to 940,000 by 2025. The biggest source markets for onshore international learner enrolments in 2025 are expected to be China, India, Vietnam, Thailand, Nepal, Malaysia, Brazil and South Korea. Higher education and VET will be the fastest growing sectors in onshore international education by 2025. [67]

Rankings

33 Australian educational institutions are listed in the QS World University Rankings for 2016, [68] 31 institutions are listed in the Times Higher Education World University Rankings, [69] 29 institutions are listed in China's Academic Ranking of World Universities ranking, [70] and 26 institutions in U.S. News & World Report's Best Global Universities Rankings. [71]

The Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA) evaluation in 2006 ranked the Australian education system as sixth for reading, eighth for science and thirteenth for mathematics, on a worldwide scale including 56 countries. [72] The PISA evaluation in 2009 ranked the Australian education system as sixth for reading, seventh for science and ninth for mathematics, an improvement relative to the 2006 rankings. [73] In 2012, education firm Pearson ranked Australian education as thirteenth in the world. [74]

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. [13]

Issues and controversies

Government education policy

Despite a substantial increase in government spending per student over ten years (after correcting for inflation), the proportion of students who are proficient in math, reading and science have actually declined over that same period. The Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development and the Menzies Research Centre have both concluded that increasing school funding above a basic level has little effect on student proficiency. Instead, they both recommend greater autonomy. That is, the states should merely monitor the performance of the schools. Individual principals should have full authority and responsibility for ensuring student proficiency in core areas. [75]

School violence

In Queensland, the Education Minister of the State of Queensland said in July 2009 that the rising levels of violence in schools in Queensland were "totally unacceptable" and that not enough had been done to combat violent behaviour. In Queensland, 55,000 school students had been suspended in 2008, nearly a third of which were for "physical misconduct". [76]

In South Australia, 175 violent attacks against students or staff were recorded in 2008. [77] Students were responsible for deliberately causing 3,000 injuries reported by teachers over two years from 2008 to 2009. [78]

See also

Further reading

Related Research Articles

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