The Australian education system is recognised as one of the best in the world. It has high standards of teaching combined with world class educational facilities and resources. The general structure of the Australian education system is depicted in the diagram below:
In Australia, the education system begins with a preparatory year for children at around 5 years of age. The preparatory year, otherwise known as kindergarten, is not compulsory but is commonly undertaken. This is followed by 6 years of primary school (Years 1-6) and 6 years of high (secondary) school (Years 7-12). High school can further be divided into junior (Years 7-10) and senior (Years 11-12) high.
As an alternative to senior high school, international students can choose to complete foundation studies. Foundation studies are university preparation programs that are especially designed to prepare international students to study at Australian universities. Most universities offer foundation studies and they are mainly one year long. On successful completion, the university will usually offer you a place in one of their university programs.
There are two main types of tertiary education programs: higher education programs that are offered by universities and vocational education and training (VET). Both types of program are available to international students.
Australian universities are highly regarded around the world and many have developed strong education relationships with partners in the Asia Pacific region. They offer a wide range of undergraduate and postgraduate degrees including:
Undergraduate: Bachelor, honours, diplomas, certificates
Postgraduate: PhD, Master's and postgraduate diploma
Vocational Education and Training (VET):
VET is a competency-based system that offers a wide variety of practical programs and qualifications that are highly recognised in the workplace. VET courses are often developed in consultation with industry organisations and employers. They are offered at private institutions or at Technical and Further Education (TAFE) institutes, with course length varying from 6 months to 3 years. VET courses can be considered as an alternative to university as well as a bridge to some university courses.
English Language Courses
For entry into Australian institutions, international students are required to meet minimum levels of English proficiency. This applies to all levels of education, ranging from high schools to universities, although the specific level required can differ across institutions and courses.
In Australia, a wide range of English Language Intensive Courses for Overseas Students (ELICOS) are available. These courses are designed to help international students to learn English and prepare them for further studies or employment. Furthermore, there are no entry requirements and courses are generally flexible.