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Education within Australia. Every state and territory government supplies finances and regulates public and private schools within their governing area. The federal government finances universities. Usually, education in Australia follows the three-tier model of primary schools, followed by secondary schools/high schools and universities and/or TAFE Colleges.
The Education Index, published as part of the UN's Human Development Index in 2008, using data from 2006, lists Australia as .993, amongst the best internationally, tied for first with New Zealand, Denmark and Finland.
Education is compulsory until an age varying from state to state but generally at least 15-17 years. The academic year in Australia differs among institutions, and normally runs from end-Jan/early Feb until mid-Dec for primary and secondary schools, with slight variations in the inter-term holidays.
Pre-school (also referred to as Kindergarten in certain states and territories) in Australia is comparatively unregulated, and it is not compulsory. The first direct exposure many Australian children have to joint learning is day care or perhaps a parent-run playgroup. This type of activity is not really considered schooling, since pre-school education is separate from primary school in all states and territories. The exceptions to this are Western Australia and Queensland where pre-school education is an integral part of the primary school system.
Pre-schools are run by the State and Territory Governments, except in Victoria, South Australia and New South Wales in which they may be run by local councils, community groups or private organizations. Pre-school is available to three- to five-year-olds. Attendance numbers vary widely between the states, with an approximate average of 86% of children attending pre-school the year before school. The year prior to a child attending primary school is the main year for pre-school education.
Responsibility with regard to pre-schools within New South Wales sits with the Department of Community Services, and in Victoria with the Department of Human Services. In every other Australian state and territory this responsibility rests with the appropriate education department.
In Australia schooling is mandatory from the ages of 5 and 15 to 17, depending on the state or territory, and the child's date of birth. Recently, over 75 % of students remain at school until they are 17. Government schools educate about two thirds of Australian students. The remainder attend Catholic and Independent schools. A very small proportion of students are home-schooled.
Government schools normally charge small fees covering minor administrative costs, whilst Catholic and Independent schools charge greater fees. Irrespective of whether a school operate under the Government, Catholic or Independent systems, they must conform to the standard curriculum frameworks of their state/territory. Many students wear uniforms, although standards do vary. Some Australian schools do not demand uniforms.
Catholic and Independent schools
The majority of Catholic schools are managed by their local parish and/or by the state's Catholic Education Department.
Non-Catholic non-government schools tend to be called Independent schools. They account for approximately 14% of students. Included in this group are schools operated by religious groups and secular educational concepts, for instance Montessori. Virtually all Independent schools are religious, primarily Anglican.
Students can be slightly younger or older than the ages listed below, as a result of differences between states/territories. Schools may vary in whether Year 7 is part of the Primary or Secondary years, or even in the presence of a Middle School system as in the Northern Territory.
Pre-school / Kindergarten: 4-5 year olds
Kindergarten / Preparatory / Pre-Primary / Reception / Transition (ACT and NSW / QLD, TAS and VIC / WA / SA / NT): 5-6 year olds
Year 1: 6-7 year olds
Year 2: 7-8 year olds
Year 3: 8-9 year olds
Year 4: 9-10 year olds
Year 5: 10-11 year olds
Year 6: 11-12 year olds
Year 7: 12-13 year olds (QLD, SA, WA)
Year 7: 12-13 year olds (ACT, NSW, TAS,VIC) (Middle School NT)
Year 8: 13-14 year olds
Year 9: 14-15 year olds
Year 10: 15-16 year olds (High School NT)
Year 11: 16-17 year olds
Year 12: 17-18 year olds
Tertiary (higher) education in Australia consists of universities as well as other higher education institutions known as "higher education providers"
A tertiary education institution is recognised under the law of the Commonwealth, State or Territory. Each particular provider must be approved by the Australian Government before either it or its students can receive grants or assistance from the Australian Government under the Higher Education Support Act (HESA) 2003. .
Universities are represented by the lobbying body Universities Australia. Completing "year 12" of secondary school is one fundamental requirement for university entry.
Categorisation of tertiary qualifications
The classification of tertiary qualifications is partly ruled through the Australian Qualifications Framework (AQF), which attempts to categorise all levels of tertiary education from trade certificates to higher doctorates. Since Australian universities largely self-regulate their courses the AQF is most relevant for vocational education.
Some of the above content selected and edited from Wikipedia