Education in Australia
Australia has a great system of education ranging from primary and secondary schools to well established universities and technical colleges.
Preschool, Primary and Secondary School
Education is compulsory in Australia until the age of 15 or 17 depending on the state or territory, and is divided into three stages: Preschool, primary school and secondary school. The first of these, preschool, is not compulsory but is an established norm nationwide.
The curriculum taught to all students is the same in most cases, and it covers a wide variety of topics which are narrowed down towards the end of a students schooling life. This is because the last two years of secondary school, although not compulsory, are the most important in terms of future university and career direction.
There are two different schooling categories to choose from:
- Government schools provide free education, however, most schools ask for a voluntary contribution to enhance their educational and extracurricular programs.
- Private (non-government) schools charge fees ranging in cost depending on the type and reputation of the school, and they often have a religious affiliation or a different educational philosophy from that of schools in the public system.
Depending on where you live in Australia there will be slight differences in the way education curriculum is applied, for example, as each state and territory is able to self-govern these aspects.
The school year varies between States and Territories, with most following a structure of four terms with holidays in between. The main school holidays, the summer holidays, are held over Christmas and run for 5 weeks or longer depending on whether it is a private or public school. Most schools run from about 9.00am to 3.00pm Monday to Friday.
Australian universities can be found in all capital cities and in some regional areas. These universities offer the full variety of courses from Medicine to all of the Arts, and have a reputation of having a high standard and effective and modern course structures.
The duration of each degree differs, with most taking three years full time to complete. Postgraduate and honours courses take longer and, like all undergraduate degrees, can be studied either full or part time.
The Government in Australia does provide financial assistance for education in the form of student loans for undergraduate courses, but only to eligible candidates.