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Education in Australia facts for kids

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Education in Australia
National education budget (2009)
Budget $489 million (5.10% of GDP) – 56th ranking of government expenditure on education worldwide.
General details
Primary languages English
System type Federal
Established compulsory education 1830s
1870s
Literacy (2003)
Total 99%
Male 99%
Female 99%
Enrollment (2008)
Total 20.4% of population
Primary 1.9 million
Secondary 1.4 million
Post secondary 1 million
Attainment (2008)
Secondary diploma 75%
Post-secondary diploma 34%

Education in Australia generally comprises primary education (primary schools), followed by secondary education (high schools), and tertiary education (universities, TAFE colleges, and vocational education and training providers providers). Regulation and funding of education is primarily the responsibility of the States and territories, but the Federal Government also plays a funding role.

Education in Australia is compulsory between the ages of five and fifteen, sixteen or seventeen, depending on the State or territory and date of birth.

For primary and secondary education, government schools educate approximately 60% of Australian students, with approximately 40% in private or independent schools. At the tertiary level, all but one of Australia's 43 universities are public, and student fees are subsidised through a student loan program where payment becomes due when graduates reach a certain income level.

For primary and secondary schools, a national Australian Curriculum is currently under progressive development and implementation.

The Education Index, published with the UN's Human Development Index in 2008, based on data from 2006, lists Australia as 0.993, the highest in the world.

Regulation and funding

The regulation, operation, and funding of education is primarily the responsibility of the States and territories, partly because the Federal Government does not have a specific constitutional power to pass laws with respect to education. However, the Federal government helps fund independent or private schools, helps fund public universities and subsidises tertiary education through a national student loan scheme, and regulates vocational education providers.

Post-compulsory education is regulated within the Australian Qualifications Framework, a unified system of national qualifications in schools, vocational education and training, and the tertiary education sector.

The Federal Government's involvement in education has been the responsibility of a number of departments over the years, the present version of which is the Department of Education and Training.

For primary and secondary schools, a national Australian Curriculum is currently under progressive development and implementation. At present, parts of the Australian Curriculum have been adopted by some States and territories.

The academic year in Australia varies between States and institutions, but generally runs from late January/early February until early/mid-December for primary and secondary schools, with slight variations in the inter-term holidays and TAFE colleges, and from late February until mid-November for universities with seasonal holidays and breaks for each educational institute.

Pre-school

Pre-school and pre-prep programmes in Australia are relatively unregulated, and are not compulsory. The first exposure many Australian children have to learning with others outside of traditional parenting is day care or a parent-run playgroup. This sort of activity is not generally considered schooling, as pre-school education is separate from primary school in all states and territories, except Western Australia where pre-school education is taught as part of the primary school system and Victoria where the state framework, VEYLDF covers children from birth to 8 years old, is used by some schools over the federal framework. In Queensland, pre-school programmes are often called Kindergarten or Pre-Prep, and are usually privately run but attract state government funding if run for at least 600 hours a year and delivered by a registered teacher.

Pre-schools are usually run by the state and territory governments, except in Victoria, South Australia and New South Wales where they are more often run by local councils, community groups or private organisations. Pre-school is offered to three- to five-year-olds; attendance numbers vary widely between the states, but 85.7% of children attended pre-school the year before school. The year before a child is due to attend primary school is the main year for pre-school education. This year is far more commonly attended, and may take the form of a few hours of activity during weekdays.

Responsibility for pre-schools in New South Wales and Victoria, lies with the Department of Education and Communities and the Department of Education and Early Childhood Development (DEECD), respectively. In all other states and territories of Australia, responsibility for pre-schools lie with the relevant education department.

The average net cost (taking into account the Child Care Benefit and Child Care Tax Rebate entitlements) for a long day care in Australia is $3.85 per hour, or a net cost of around $46 a day for a long day care service offering 12-hour days.

Rankings

In terms of rankings, 33 Australian educational institutions are listed in the QS World University Rankings for 2016, 31 institutions are listed in the Times Higher Education World University Rankings, 29 institutions are listed in China's Academic Ranking of World Universities ranking, and 26 institutions in U.S. News & World Report's Best Global Universities Rankings.

The Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA) evaluation in 2006 ranked the Australian education system as sixth for reading, eighth for science and thirteenth for mathematics, on a worldwide scale including 56 countries. The PISA evaluation in 2009 ranked the Australian education system as sixth for reading, seventh for science and ninth for mathematics, an improvement relative to the 2006 rankings. In 2012, education firm Pearson ranked Australian education as thirteenth in the world

The Education Index, published with the UN's Human Development Index in 2008, based on data from 2006, lists Australia as 0.993, the highest in the world.

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