There are more than 10 thousand schools in the country. Public schools (government schools) make up 71%, the rest are private (independent schools). By type, schools are divided into joint (co-educational), only for boys (boys schools) and only for girls (girls schools). Upon graduation, students receive a state certificate.
Depending on the state, the education system has some differences. On average, Australian children go to school at the age of six. Up to 12 years old they study at the first stage of secondary education (Primary school), up to 16 years old – at the second stage (Junior secondary), up to 18 years old – at the third stage (Senior secondary, grades 11-12). Secondary education is designed for 12 years. It is for this reason that Russian students after graduation are forced to study for another year in the preparatory program for the university.
The schools teach English, mathematics, social and natural sciences, art (including music, drawing). In the final grades, the range of subjects studied is narrowed to a few, and the choice of direction depends on the student. In Australian schools, much attention is paid to sports and personality education.
Compared to the UK, there are not many international students in Australian schools. Boarding schools are the most suitable for children coming to Australia from abroad. The vast majority of foreign students are concentrated in the last two, final grades (Year 11 and Year 12). Their goal is to obtain an Australian High School Certificate and enter the university on a general basis.
Colleges provide mainly vocational training in a wide range of areas. Colleges or polytechnics are divided into public and private. State, united in the TAFE (Technical and Further Education) system, are considered to be of higher quality, therefore, getting a profession in a public educational institution is considered no less prestigious than a university. Education in Australian colleges has a pronounced practical orientation. In a number of specialties, you can do an internship (sometimes paid).
Depending on your basic education and the length of your studies, you can get a certificate (I, II, III or IV degree), a diploma or an “advanced diploma” (Advanced). The training period for obtaining a certificate is 12-52 weeks. A diploma is issued on average after 1.5–2 years of study, and an Advanced Diploma after 2.5–3 years of study.
A feature of study programs in Australia lies in their credit-modular system. This is a kind of accumulative knowledge assessment system and consists in the fact that students move from one program to another without exams (as is customary in Russia), accumulating the required number of “credits”. There are also no entrance examinations (the decision is made on the basis of the submitted package of documents). For example, you can enroll in a college language course, then transfer to a professional program leading to a 1st degree certificate. Then get certificates II, III, IV degree. For those who want to study further, there is a program leading to a diploma and then a bachelor’s degree. At the same time, it is possible to transfer to the second or even third year of the partner university. Thus, professional programs in colleges are one of the possible paths to the university.
Specialized schools of tourism and hospitality management offer degree programs in conjunction with educational institutions in Switzerland. Upon graduation from these educational institutions, students have the opportunity to receive two diplomas (Swiss and Australian). Here purposeful training of personnel for hotels, restaurants, travel agencies is carried out. The schools offer skills-oriented training with a significant amount of practical work. Students pass practice by working in hotels, receiving rather high wages for their work.
Universities in Australia
Australian universities are leaders in the Pacific region and their degrees are recognized worldwide. The largest number of public and private educational institutions is located in Sydney and Melbourne – the two largest cities in the country.
The oldest university in Australia, The University of Sydney, was founded in 1851. The country’s prestigious universities include: The Australian National University (ANU), The University of New South Wales (UNSW), The University of Melbourne, The University of Queensland ), Monash University, The University of Adelaide and The University of Western Australia.
Studying for a bachelor’s degree in Australian universities takes three or four (Honours Degree) years. Some areas – medicine, dentistry, engineering – require a longer period of study.