The Education System in Australia consists of a total of 12 years. Primary schools and high schools are based on the age of the student, so that every room has the same age group, with a student hardly having to repeat a year. The students with problems in their studies may be put into special classes to help with academic deficits. The majority of the children start in the primary school with the age of 5 years (year 1) and the child studies in the primary school until they are around 12 years old ( year 7).
Primary and Secondary Schools of Australia - There are many types of education for children up to 5 years, but the main ones are the "Child Care" regulated centers or families in registered residences who take care of the kids in a system called "Family Day Care".
High School - the student goes for secondary school with 12/13 years (year 8), and is he/she is only compulsorily required to stay to year 10, receiving a junior high school certificate but not a high school certificate. The year 11 (15/16 YO) and 12 (16/17 YO), are optional but are required to be successfully completed to attain a high school diploma. Some of the options for those students leaving the school in year 10 include training –apprenticeship, to enter the work force or to study in any vocational course.
Year 11 and 12 - The results of the last two years of high school are the most important ones, as they are the ones to be evaluated for entry levels in Universities. The results which you achieve for each subject (compared to the rest of the students) will then give you a rank. The board of secondary studies than calculates an “OP” score (overall position) using a formula of you high school results and a test called “QCS” (in Queensland) which is taken by every year 12 in the state, which is used to compare students (schools) of the same year level between schools. The last 2 years is where students begin to guide their education towards their chosen professions. The student will choose what to study depending on the career in which they intend to follow. For example, a student who wants to do Engineering in University should chose subjects such as physics, and high level mathematics instead of subjects such as history, or biology. For international students there are options with easier level subjects inside the curriculum. There is the easy level English, the easy mathematics etc, and they are the options for the students not going to apply for a academic career in an university course. In general the subjects are divided in letters such as Maths type A, B, C or names such as Board English (harder one) and English Communication (easier one).
Note 1: High school courses for International Students are not free. There is a program of English as Second Language (ESL) that it only is free for immigrants to help and support in English.
Note 2: Requirements for international Students intending to study in High School in Australia: They will have that to show the history of the last two years of study in the Home Country, official translated. An English level test sometimes is not required if you could show any records of English study in the school.
Timetable -The schedule of the lessons is Monday to Friday, 8:45 am to 3 pm, with breaks for lunch and snacks. Extra Curricular activities such as soccer practice, dance classes, etc is done after school hours or Saturday mornings.
Transport - The government schools offer subsidized public transport if necessary but most students who are enrolled in the schools, usually live around the geographic area limit of school and are able to go walking or by bicycle.
School Year Calendar - Australia is in the South Hemisphere; therefore the academic year coincides with calendar year, starting in the end of January and finishing in December. The summer vacations are the biggest school holidays (period of 6/7 weeks), and during the school year there are also small breaks usually of about 10-14 days between “terms” (2 terms per semester). Not all states go all holidays at the same time, for example the vacations of Queensland generally begins 1 week before NSW which begins 1 week before the State of Victoria. This difference is most likely in place so to maximize holiday and tourist places, which would then extend for further. The timetable for school vacations are in general in April, July and September. The beginning of the Holidays in public schools also differ by around I week from private schools.
The difference between private and public schools in Australia - There are Private and Public schools. Private Schools in general are related to a religion and usually they offer more options in music and sports. In both all students have to use of uniforms but in the private schools the rules are more restricted about the use of a complete uniform. The educational courses and standards of all high schools are very similar and all prepare students for the same national, recognized qualifications in the country. Some schools also offer in the years 11 and 12 professional qualifications level for Certificate 2 and 3.
Technical Courses in Australia - The Certificates and Diplomas of Vocational Courses allow the students to enter and leave different levels of academic studies. The unify system of education allows the student to register for Certificate course which then after completion may give credits to Diploma courses or Degrees, in case the student continues in a University. Professional experience may also be recognized. The technical courses are often considered a "bridge" to enter in an Australian University.
Note: Despite the qualifications being nationally recognized, some institutions and Universities only accept them if there are internal agreements between them. So it is important for the international students intending to make a course as bridge, to verify if they will be able to enter in the University, and the course will be accepted or credited.
Universities in Australia - Australia has both government and private Universities that offer to programs called "Under Graduate", and after graduation courses called "Graduate Programs or Post Graduate". In general the time of duration of the Graduate Certificates =6 months, Master=1 year, Master Honor=1.5 year, Doctorate= 2 years. However these degrees are not measured by time but by subjects/ courses taken, therefore depending on how may subjects/courses you are doing per semester, it may impact the time it takes to complete them. Most of these post graduate courses however, do have a time limit to complete.
Educative credit in Universities (HECS)- For all Australian citizens, the government provides a interest free loan called “HECS”, which only needs to be paid once that person is earning above a certain level ($28,000 p.a). Once that person earns above that threshold than the Government begins to deduct a tax or percentile from their income. Therefore Australians do not need to pay for their education until they are earning enough money. Post Graduate courses have a similar finance.
English Tests for Universities and Foundation - The test IELTS is the preferred one for Australian institutions to measure the level of English of international students in Australia, but the TOEFL (more popular in U.S.A.) is also accepted. Many Universities offer English courses for foreigners, and also preparation courses called foundations for successful enrolment in Universities. If an English course in a University combined with a University course, it may allow for an extended Visa(Combined VISA), covering all the time of study, without the need to pay all in advanced.
Requirements study in a University in Australia - The criteria for enrolment in a University vary depending on the institution. But generally besides the official translated documents, you will need to show:
Evidence of English knowledge/level (all institutions will require).
Evidence of study, for example, If High School was not done in Australia need to show similar qualification, recognized by NOOSR, (Australian department for recognition of foreign aptitudes).
Have already done at least 1 year in a university. If a person has not done a previous year in a University than an Australia course called Foundation during 6 months up to 1 year will guarantee entry in the University.
Evaluation of University - You can study in any University in your home country (it doesn’t need to be only the ones with formal agreements with the Australian Universities) and be able to enroll in an Undergraduate or Graduate Course in Australia. It is possible to get educational recognition from any country but it is necessary to submit the transcripts to the University. The institution will inform you if your qualifications are or are not valid and how much credit you will be able to receive (credit means subjects and not money). For this evaluation the documents have to be officially translated in English and send certified copies and in general costs A$50, and may take some weeks for a result.
Another way to be admitted in an Australian University (depending on the institution and course), is through an evaluation of the Curriculum and letters of recommendation. There is a possibility that with an assessment, the institution may consider that you can satisfy the requirements for the course. The evaluation is based on the educational qualifications, life experience and work experience. This option is known as "RPL" ("Recognition of prior learning", or recognition of the completed studies). This evaluation is made in the Australian NOOSR (report of National Department p the Recognition of Foreign Aptitudes) and the Embassy can supply the contacts.
Orientation - In general orientation programs are in the beginning of the semester, and are offered for International and Australian students. These programs are very recommended and some are obligatory. Orientation programs include a welcome, acknowledgments on the course and school registration, an introduction to the university life (students services, rules and procedures), timetable etc. Most induction programs include activities and an end of Orientation party, and is a good chance to know get to know other students.
Duration of the Degree in Australia - A Bachelor degree generally takes three years, and can also be done in only two years in some universities (such as Bond) with fewer days holiday. The majority of the structures offer the opportunity to combine two qualifications. In that you will be able to finish a University with a two qualifications or a "Double Degree" by studying one more year. For example: Bachelor Degree of IT & Business in 4 years. After finishing a Under Graduate degree you can get then continue on to a Graduate degree either in Master or PhD. The Master and Doctorate are intensive studies and in general include research with supervision.
Vacations in the Australian Universities- The vacations vary in accordance with the system of semesters that the university adopts. The school year of the University in general starts in the end of February or start of March with one week of orientation, and finishes in November, with a month break between semesters. The Universities with fewer holidays usually have 3 semesters.
Consult our Australian Course Guide to know about Courses in Sydney, Courses in Brisbane, Courses in Adelaide, Courses in Melbourne, Courses in Perth, Courses in Tasmania, Courses on the Gold Coast and many other cities in Australia.