Education in Australia is primarily the responsibility of states and territories. Each state or territory government provides the funding and regulates the public and private schools with its governing area, The federal government funds the universities, but these set their own curriculum. Generally, education in Australia follows the three-tier model, which includes primary education (primary schools), followed by secondary education (secondary schools/high schools) and tertiary education (universities and/or TAFE Colleges).
Each state has a Vocational Education and Training (VET) or Technical and Further Education (TAFE) system. VET prepares people for work in a career that does not need a university degree. Each state manages their system and meets at a national level to coordinate their effort. VET is transferable between all states. Study done in one state gains the same status in another state. Typically, a VET/TAFE course takes two years of study. The national government provides the funding for universities in all the states. Each is independent in its governance. They set their courses and course content. A professional body must endorse a course for it to run. Typically, a university course takes three or four years of study.
The Australian education system is broadly divided into the university, vocational, school and English language sectors.
University is the highest level of study in Australia. There are 41 universities in total – 38 public (government funded) and three private. You can study at the undergraduate level (Bachelor degree) or postgraduate level (Graduate Certificate, Diploma, Masters, PhD).
Vocational institutions are closely linked with industry, making courses very practical and skill-based. Vocational courses are provided at both the government-funded Technical and Further Education (TAFE) institutes and at private institutions. Some universities also offer vocational courses.
School is compulsory for children aged between 6 and 15 years, with exams for university generally at 18 years old. Australian schools are public (government) and private (religious or independent).
Courses can be taken for study, travel, immigration or business purposes. There are around 100 private English language centers in Australia. Some universities and vocational institutes also offer English language courses.
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