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  Education System in Australia  

Australian universities have created a niche for themselves among the internationally acclaimed universities across the globe. The National Office of Overseas Skills Recognition (NOOSR) in Australia helps recognise the qualifications from other universities on an international level, while also promoting the recognition of qualifications provided by the Australian universities on a global level.

The education system in Australia

The education system in Australia is governed by each state, individually. Australia consists of 6 states (New South Wales, Queensland, Tasmania, South Australia, Western Australia and Victoria), 2 mainland territories (Northern Territory and Australian Capital Territory) and other minor territories.

In general, the system of education in Australia is a 3-tier model of Primary education (Primary schools), Secondary education (Secondary schools) and Tertiary education (Universities, RTOs and TAFEs). RTOs stand for Registered Training Organisations while TAFEs stand for Technical and Further Education colleges. The tertiary education system is further classified into three sub categories:

(a) Universities

Any reference to universities in Australia usually begins with a discussion about the 'Group of Eight' or 'G8'. These are eight Australian tertiary universities that have grouped themselves together, in recognition of their perceived status and / or history. The entire Australian University System consists of both public and private universities.

The table below gives the pertinent information about the universities.



Founded in

University of Adelaide

Adelaide, South Australia


Australian National University

Canberra, Australian Capital Territory


University of Melbourne

Melbourne, Victoria


Monash University

Melbourne, Victoria


University of New South Wales

Sydney, New South Wales


University of Queensland

Brisbane, Queensland


University of Sydney

Sydney, New South Wales


University of Western Australia

Perth, Western Australia


(b) State and territory accredited higher education institutions

These are primarily the TAFEs or Technical and Further Education colleges in Australia. These institutions form an integral part of the Australian higher education system and provide a wide range of predominantly vocational tertiary education courses in Australia. The courses covered include subjects such as hospitality, tourism, construction, etc.

The TAFEs provide Certificate, Diploma and Associate Degrees which usually take about 1 to 2 years to complete. They consist primarily of coursework. After this, a student can pursue further qualifications at the university level.
The academic year begins in late January and lasts till the middle of December for schools and TAFEs.

(c) Other self-accrediting higher education institutions

In addition to this there are other institutions which cannot be deemed as universities or colleges because their academic focus is narrow. These are usually referred to as Vocational Education and Training colleges (VETs) or Registered Training Organisations (RTOs).

The VETs usually provide training for those students who are interested in gaining qualifications for a career that does not require any university degree. These institutions award different levels of Certificates (ranging from I to IV) to the students.

These self-accredited higher education institutions are usually privately operated and include a number of commercial training providers, group training companies and community learning centers.

The Australian Qualification Framework and degrees offered by Australian universities

The Australian Qualifications Framework (AQF) regulates the education levels and qualifications from the Secondary education level onwards. Thus, there is a unified system of qualifications in schools, Vocational Education and Training colleges (VETs), Technical and Further Education colleges (TAFEs) and the universities.

This allows students to move around from one level of study to another, and thus change universities and states without losing out on the qualifications and credits acquired.

Under the AQF system, credits from VET courses can be transferred to university courses if the student wishes to pursue a degree education. Most universities have internal agreements with specific VET institutions. Therefore, depending on the university, there would be a Bridging course or a Foundation course which will enable the student with a VET qualification to enter a degree course in that university.

The AQF has raised some criticism recently as it has been observed that Australian universities tend to award more named degrees than similar institutions in other countries. In Australia, universities tend to offer different named degrees for each faculty. This has been found to be part of a marketing drive where universities try to compete with each other by offering degrees titled with a popular major.
A university in Australia usually offers a variety of courses. Chief among them are Bachelor's Degree courses, Masters Degree courses and Doctoral Degree courses.

The universities usually offer Bachelor's Degree courses that last for 3 to 4 years, and Masters Degree courses that last for 1 to 2 years and Doctoral Degree courses that last for up to 3 years. The period for completing the courses usually depends upon the subjects taken up for study in each semester. Some postgraduate courses, however, do have time limits set for completion of the courses.

Education in Australia - value for money

Education in Australia is comparatively cheaper than in the USA and UK. The living expenses and tuition costs incurred by international students who study in Australia are comparatively less. This plays an important role in attracting Indian students to study in Australia.
Universities in Australia are also valued since there are a lot of one year programs on offer.

Over the years, Australian universities have steadily climbed upwards in various international university rankings underlining the fact that they are amongst the best in the world today.

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