Educational System in Australia provide their graduates with high-quality, practice-oriented education along with internationally acknowledged diplomas. Australia has a third place in the world in the number of foreign students, leaving the first two places only to the United Kingdom and the USA. This educational excellence is confirmed by the fact that seven Ausralian universities are in top-100 best universities in the world.
The structure of education in Australia consists of three basic levels: primary, secondary and tertiary education. Each level has its own educational institutions.
Primary education is provided by primary schools. There are three types of primary schools in Australia: private, government and Catholic. The overwhelming majority of Australian kids attend state schools with much less number of them attending private and Catholic ones. Government schools are secular, although sometimes they include religious courses in their educational plans. In state schools there’s usually a guardian for each student. Parents also take active part in educational upbringing of their children. The duration of study in primary schools is 12 years. Primary schools provide students with meals in school canteens, although they can bring their own food with them. Also, most state schools have compulsory school uniform, although this varies from state to state. The school year starts in January and ends in December. It is divided into four terms. The longest holidays in the year are Christmas ones (summertime in Australia), which continue for nearly six weeks. There are also three other two-week long holidays during the school year.
Primary government schools provide free education. They are financed by local governments. However, parents will have to pay for summer camps, excursions, trips, etc. The approximate fees will account for AU$70 – AU$300 per year.
Catholic schools are mainly single-sex with the main focus on religious upbringing (with masses every day). However, students are free in their choice of religion. Studying in Catholic school doesn’t mean the student has to be a Catholic, as students of different religions can attend them. Studying in Catholic schools requires paying mandatory fees for education and additional activeties. That’s why Catholic schools provide a better quality of education that state ones, with more educational facilities at students’ disposal. Catholic school may be a good option if parents can’t afford paying for education in private schools but want better education than in state schools. The average fees in Catholic primary schools are AU$2000 to AU$3000 per year, in Catholic high schools AU$3000 to AU$6000 per year.
Education in private schools is the most expensive and is generally acknowledged to provide the best education in Australia. Such schools also receive government funds. Combined with students’ fees, such schools have sufficient financial means to present advanced educational facilities and demonstrate annual achievements in different fields of study. Like Catholic schools, they are mainly single-sex. The average cost of studying in private primary school is AU$2000 to AU$2500 per year, in private high school – AU$12,000 and AU$20,000 per year. However, if compared with similar schools in Japan, US or Great Britain, the fees are significantly lower.
There is also a number of boarding schools. Education there is very expensive: it costs approximately AU$30,000 to AU$40,000 per year.
Government also provides two types of higher education: open and selective. Selective schools have a reputation of more refined establishments, while open schools are at a disposal of all students. Selective schools are known for their academic excellence as well as enhanced learning facilities.
Universities in Australia provide high-quality education with numerous qualifications and international courses. Apart from Australian students, a huge number of foreign students are studying in Australia. They are attracted by convenient living environment, academic excellence and career opportunities.
The oldest universities in Australia are united within Group of Eight: Australian National University, Canberra; University of New South Wales; University of Western Australia; University of Sydney; University of Melbourne; University of Queensland, Brisbane; University of Adelaide, Adelaide; Monash University, Melbourne. All Australian universities promote multi-culturalism, tolerance, religious freedom. They enjoy great autonomy and define the structure and contents of courses independently. However, this doesn’t mean that the quality of education diminishes: all universities follow the national educational standards and provide equal quality. The bachelor studies last for 3 years; master studies – for 2 years and doctorate studies – for 3 years.
Government usually helps Australian students in getting higher education, providing interest-free loans. There are also scholarships as a reward for educational achievements.
Vocational education in Australia is provided by Vocational Education and Training system. It costs approximately AU$580 to AU$1200 per year. Such institutions concentrate on specific skills and knowledge in specific area, in which the student is interested. As a matter of fact, Australian VET is acknowledged worldwide for the outstanding practices it provides. In Australia VET is presented by both state and private establishments. Public VET is usually called TAFE (Technical and Further Education). All TAFEs provide certificates and advanced diplomas. Some of them even offer bachelor degrees. Private VET colleges offer the same degrees and similar training courses.
A nice opportunity for foreign students to enter an Australian university is Foundation Studies. Such program is aimed directly at international attendees. It usually lasts for a year, in some cases diminishishing to 9 months if the student demonstrates significant progress.
When speaking about the language issue, then it’s obvious that in order to study in Australia one needs to speak English fluently. Most universities usually require certificates which confirm the level of language knowledge, like TOEFL, or IELTS. The results of IELTS has to account for no less than 6.Also, English can be profoundly learnt directly at universities, as they usually have their own language centres. Students have great choice in deciding which courses to attend, as their number is really large. Competition forces colleges to offer extra activities, like journeys, weekends, excursions, etc., making language-learning more interesting and exciting.
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