Education System in Australia

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.

The AQF has 10 levels and links school, vocational and university education qualifications into one national system. This allows you to move easily from one level of study to the next, and from one institution to another, as long as you satisfy student visa requirements. It allows for choice and flexibility in career planning. All qualifications in the AQF help prepare you for both further study and your working life.

If you are studying an AQF qualification, you can be sure that your institution is Government-authorised and nationally accredited, and that your degree or other AQF qualification will be genuine.

English Language Requirements

The language of instruction in Australia is, of course, English. Students wishing to study vocational or degree courses in Australia will need to demonstrate proficiency in English as prescribed by the entry criteria for the chosen course. Most Registered Training Organizations will accept students with an IELTS score of 5 or 5.5. Direct entry to university normally requires an IELTS score of 6, sometimes higher.

Virtually all English colleges offer programs in General English, some with specializations such as "Business English' or 'English for Tourism'. Most colleges also offer English for Academic Purposes (EAP) - courses designed especially to prepare students for further study. Many English colleges also offer preparation for one or more of the international English proficiency exams such as IELTS (International English Language Testing System), FCE (First Certificate in English), CAE (Certificate in Advanced English) and TOEFL (Test of English as a Foreign Language).

IELTS is by far the most widely recognized English test in Australia and some education providers will only accept an IELTS test score. Some English colleges are also IELTS testing centres.There are a large number of English language colleges throughout Australia, although the capital cities offer the greatest choice.

Most universities have their own English language centre, but by far the majority of English colleges are private, or independently funded. English language teaching in Australia is closely regulated by government for the quality assurance of teaching standards, facilities available to students, and business soundness.

University & Higher Education

Higher education courses can be taken to earn an advanced degree and continue your studies in Australia. There are three main types of higher education which lead to Bachelor, Master and Doctoral Degrees.

In Australia it is quite common for students to enrol in a double or combined Bachelor Degree program which leads to the award of two Bachelor Degrees. This is most common in the fields of arts, commerce, law and science.

Australian institutions offer a wide range of courses – from science to management and commerce, humanities to engineering, and law to health sciences. Australian institutions rank among the world’s best by discipline, particularly in engineering and technology, medicine, environmental science, and accounting and finance.

There are 43 universities in Australia (40 Australian universities, two international universities, and one private specialty university). Along with our universities, many other institutions offer higher education courses.

Australia has a national regulatory and quality agency for higher education – the Tertiary Education Quality and Standards Agency (TEQSA). It was established by the Australian Government to monitor quality, and regulate university and non-university higher education providers against a set of standards developed by the independent Higher Education Standards Panel. In addition, the following student rights are protected by law under the Education Services for Overseas Students (ESOS):

  • The well-being of all international students.
  • The quality of students' education experience.
  • The provision of up-to-date and accurate information.

Vocational Education and Training (VET)

  • VET fees and charges: AU$580 to AU$1200 per year
  • Award qualifications up to the level of advanced diploma

In Australia vocational education and training is mostly post secondary and provided through the Vocational Education and Training (VET) system by registered training organisations. This system encompasses both public and private providers in a national training framework.

Technical and Further Education (TAFE) institutions provide a wide range of predominantly vocational tertiary education courses in Australia. Fields covered include hospitality, tourism, construction, engineering, secretarial skills, visual arts, computer programming and community work. TAFE colleges generally award qualifications up to the level of advanced diploma. In many instances TAFE study can be used as partial credit towards bachelor degree-level university programs.

Individual TAFE institutions (usually with many campuses) are known as either colleges or institutes, depending on the state or territory. TAFE colleges are owned, operated and financed by the various state and territory governments. Students who enrol in these undergraduate degree courses at TAFE are required to pay full fees and are not entitled to Commonwealth Government supported student fee loans.