Education in Australia

Joined Commonwealth: 1931 (Statute of Westminster)

Population: 21,293,000 (2009)

GDP p.c. growth: 2.3% p.a. 1990-2009

UN HDI 2010: world ranking 2

Net primary education: 97.0% (2009)

Net secondary education: 87.5% (2009)

Gross tertiary education: 82.3% (2009)

Responsibility for education lies with the states and systems vary slightly. Public spending on education was 4.5% of GDP in 2008. There are 11 years of compulsory education starting at age five. Gross enrolment ratio for all levels combined was 112.1% in 2009, with the ratio of female-male of 1.00:1 at the primary level and 0.96:1 at the secondary level (2009). The school year starts in January.

Some one million students are enrolled in tertiary education, with a female-male ratio for gross enrollment of 0.66:1 (2011) There is virtually no illiteracy among people age 15-24.

The Australian Government is committed to working with state and territory governments, as well as faith and independent school sectors, to make sustainable and meaningful change in the way teaching and learning are delivered in Australian schools.

The Australian Qualifications Framework is a unified system of national qualifications, embracing some 14 qualifications in basic, higher and vocational education and training.

The Diversity and Structural Adjustment Fund was launched by the government in January 2008 to promote structural reform in the higher education sector, greater specialisation among providers and better responsiveness to labour markets operating in the local or national . Over A$200 million has been allocated to the Diversity Fund over four years (2008-2011).

The programme aims to positively change and develop teaching and learning in schools to prepare students to study, live and work in a digital world. It provides for new information and communication technology and broadband connections in all secondary schools with students in years 9 to 12; online curriculum tools and resources to support the national curriculum and conferencing facilities for specialist subjects such as languages; teacher training in the new technologies; and online learning facilities for parents to enable participation in their children’s education.

In March 2010, the government initiated major reform of the higher education system, to ensure the sector’s fitness for purpose in meeting the needs of the Australian community and economy, following the recommendations of the final report of the Review of Australian Higher Education, published in December 2008.