In Australia, school attendance is compulsory for children of 5-6 to 16 years old, from 1st to 9-10th grade. Studying lasts 12 years, and secondary education is divided into 2 stages:
- Middle school (grades 7-10) — students study such subjects as economics, mathematics, civil law, English, science, business, and geography;
- Secondary school (grades 11 and 12) — preparing students for higher education and employment. At this level, students continue to study history, mathematics, science, geography, and English.
Schools themselves are divided into:
- Private (including religious, for example, Catholic, which make up more than half of all private schools, Islamic, etc.);
- Schools based on educational methods such as Montessori and Steiner.
At the end of 12 years of study, students receive a Senior Secondary Certificate of Education. In Australia, each territory and state has different names for this certificate, but they all correspond to the same level of education.
It is noteworthy that about 65% of all students attend public schools, while 35% are students in private institutions.
Public and private schools accept international students. Usually, they study in grades 11-12, then enter universities in Australia. Education in a public school for foreigners costs about 8,339 USD per year, and in elite private schools, it reaches 20,848 USD. Here you can learn more about public schools in Australia.
Education in Australia is the benchmark of quality and is highly regarded in the international arena. This is not surprising since among the 100 best universities in the world in 2021, 7 are in Australia. Therefore, a large number of international students from around the world come here. In terms of the number of foreign students, Australia takes the 3rd place in the world after the United States and Great Britain. At the same time, studying here is a real pleasure: warm weather, surfing, the ocean, and friendly Australians will make your student time an unforgettable period of your life.
- English. The official language in Australia is English. At first, it will be unusual for a visiting student to hear the Australian accent, which has some distinctive slang and other differences from more common American and British accents. However, after a while, foreigners adapt and sometimes adopt Australian English. In the event that the applicant does not have enough knowledge of the language, there are many language schools and preparatory courses that will help with admission to Australian universities. It is worth noting that Australians speak classic English. Residents of the southern states can understand those who live in the north and vice versa.
- Internationality. Australia is the state that can rightfully be called an international student center. Students from around the world flock here to get an education. For example, in 2019, 812000 foreigners studied here. This made Australia the country with the highest international student per capita ratio worldwide, and this is considerably more than in other countries. Moreover, Australia, along with Canada, the UK, and the USA, accepts more than 40% of all foreign students from OECD and partner countries.
- Quality monitoring. Australian universities guarantee the quality of education at the legislative level. There is a law in a place called the Education Services for Overseas Students Act 2000 (ESOS) and the National Code of Practice for Providers of Education and Training to Overseas Students of 2007. They provide education standards at Australian universities and protect the rights of international students. Along with the ESOS Law and the National Code, there are organizations such as:
- Tertiary Education Quality and Standards Agency (TEQSA) for higher education;
- Australian Skills Quality Authority (ASQA) for vocational institutions.
They regulate, register, accredit, and monitor the quality of educational institutions and programs. Therefore, regardless of the course, place, and duration of the study, all these systems guarantee a high quality of education and its compliance with international standards.
- The Australian Qualifications Framework (AQF). It makes the education system of Australia unique compared to other countries. AQF governs all Australian education, with particular emphasis on secondary and tertiary education. Thanks to this system, various levels of training and the freedom to choose an educational inclination appeared. The system also allows international students to enroll in educational institutions in Australia without any problems.
- Academic freedom. Australian universities are independent and autonomous, but they are checked for compliance with internationally recognized accreditation standards. The state even requires the protection and promotion of academic and intellectual freedom in universities at the legislative level.
- Employment in the country. Graduates from Australian universities are highly regarded around the world. And Australia's growing economy has a positive effect on employment in the country. In 2018, 84% of adults with higher education had a job. Moreover, the high level of employment is inherent to all graduates, regardless of specialization. Salary depends on demand, but the discrepancy between the lowest-paid jobs and the highest paid jobs is only 30-40%. Compared to other OECD countries, this difference is small.
- Accommodation options. Students of Australian universities rent apartments on their own or with friends. They can also live in university dormitories and sometimes in Australian families. Renting an apartment with peers will cost from 100 to 208 USD per week. If the student prefers to live alone, then the cost might be even higher. In Australia, rental housing comes with a minimal set of furniture: the tenant buys household items and in addition pays a deposit. Dormitories cost about the same, they are furnished and you can live both alone and with neighbors. Host families usually prefer high school students and first-year students. This helps them to immerse themselves in the language environment and local life. Other benefits may include meals and family members looking after students. The price is 139-278 USD per week, depending on conditions and region.
- The standards of living in the country. Australia is considered to be one of the most beautiful countries in the world, where a high level of comfort is combined with a clean environment and a favorable climate. The first thing a student will notice when exiting the plane is fresh air and blue skies. For example, Tasmania has the cleanest air in the world. The UN Human Development Index awarded Australia 6th place in the aggregate assessment of attributes such as life expectancy, educational attainment, and gross national income per capita. If you were not born in Australia, then studying here still has its perks: Melbourne and Sydney entered the top ten student cities of 2019, taking 3rd and 9th places, respectively. The Australians themselves are friendly people who welcome foreigners warmly. Therefore, students adapt to the country relatively quickly and easily.
- The ability to immigrate. Australia's open immigration policy makes the country attractive for ambitious young people who come to study in Australia to find work in the future and stay here. After graduation from a university or college, young specialists can apply for a visa for graduates and find a job. The visa allows you to legally stay in the country from 18 months to 4 years.
- Expensive education. In Australia, a year of bachelor’s studies costs around 31,272 USD on average, and a master's degree costs 34,747 USD per year. State universities charge higher tuition fees for foreign students than for local ones, on average the tuition will cost 9,660 USD more. For local students, financial support is offered in the form of education loans, while visitors have to pay from their own pockets.
- Excessive independence. Despite a large number of classes, lectures, and academic discussions, the educational process in Australia is largely focused on self-study. At first, this may seem unusual but hard work, discipline, and dedication will help the student to get involved in learning. The student must be interested in getting an education and in his specialty in order to successfully complete the program. Eventually, this will benefit the student, because time management and organization skills are also highly valued in the workplace.
- Lack of the sought specialty. Australia does not have as many educational institutions as, for example, the United States or England, which may complicate the search for a program in a highly specialized subject. In the event that the necessary specialty is not available at universities in large cities, it is worth looking at narrowly focused universities located further from major cities.
- The difficulty of obtaining a student visa to Australia. Australia has a soft immigration policy, but not everyone can get a student visa. The most important condition is to prove that the applicant came only to study and has no immigration intentions. For this, the student must have significant evidence of ties with the homeland (mortgage, real estate, children, work). Moreover, the visa application process requires a serious approach and a lot of attention to the documents you are submitting. The number of required certificates and statements can confuse the applicant, so he should carefully study the website of the Australian government or consult a specialist.
- High living costs. An international student without children and family spends the average of about 1,181 USD per month on accommodation, food, clothing, entertainment, transportation, international and domestic travel, communications, and miscellaneous expenses. To this, we could add the cost of plane tickets, which are quite expensive. Foreigners are allowed to work up to 40 hours in two weeks, but the money earned will only partially cover expenses.
- Remote continent. Despite the quality of education and international recognition, flying for an Australian diploma is expensive and long, since the mainland is far from many countries of the world. You should plan your trip in advance in order to save on air travel and avoid numerous and tiring transfers. Moreover, the time difference between Australia and your country can be quite severe, which can cause inconvenience in communicating with family members.
Guidance in the admission process
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