Education in Australia


Education in Australia is the responsibility of states and territories. The federal government provides funding and general guidance, but does not participate in curriculum development.

The school system has three levels:

  • primary education (grades 1-6 / 7)
  • secondary education (grades 6 / 7-10)
  • higher secondary education (11-12 grades)

All schools in Australia can be divided into public, independent and private, and 70% of students attend public. Education in public schools is free for citizens and permanent residents. Among private schools there are churches (Catholic, Lutheran, etc.). There are boarding schools accepting children from abroad, and for admission to the best of them it is necessary to pass examinations.

Some of the schools are separate schools for boys and girls. Special schools are presented as well (selective school), enrollment in them is made on the basis of entrance tests. Some schools organize classes on the basis of their high complexity program.

The age of admission to school varies somewhat in different states and territories of Australia. As a rule, children come to school at the age of 5, but not younger than 4.5. Gifted children can be made an exception. In addition, gifted students can "jump over" a subject or year. Education is designed for 12 classes, and most students leave school  at the age of 17 years.

The vast majority of educational institutions have a specific school uniform.

School education is built on the basis of  British system, which is considered as one of the best in the world. In addition to academic subjects (English, mathematics, history, geography, biology, chemistry, physics, foreign languages), the study of arts (drawing, music, theater) and crafts (cooking, sewing, joinery, etc.) are expected. Much attention is paid to physical culture and sport. Subjects of the social cycle (history, social studies, geography) in primary and secondary schools are often combined into the subject of SOSE (Studies of society and environment). Natural sciences (biology, physics, chemistry) are combined into a “science” (Science). Most of the subjects are compulsory.  Among the additional subjects children are  allowed to make an individual choice. In the upper grades, several subjects are studied that are preferred for further higher or secondary special education (economics, computer science, physics, etc.).

Students in grades 11–12 can also count on access to an apprenticeship and internship program, ensuring a recognized profession and partly paid work.

Intermediate assessment of performance is carried out using written tests, essays and oral reports, the results of which will form the average score. At the end of each training period, exams are taken. In the final rating, expressed in points from 1 to 100, both exam results and the average score during training are taken into account. Some higher educational institutions annually announce the minimum rating value required for admission to their faculties.

Parents can familiarize themselves with the evaluation of their child’s educational activities both through receiving written reports by mail (twice a year) and during individual meetings with the teacher. General information about the school, the percentage of students who successfully graduated from it, programs of study, and side events are published on school websites.

Graduated students receive Senior Secondary Certificates of Education (SSCE) and Certificate I-IV in accordance with the received specialty.

The school year usually lasts from the end of January to mid-December and is divided into two semesters or four terms. Training is interrupted for Easter (2 weeks in April), winter (2 weeks in July) spring (2 weeks in September) and summer (December-January) holidays. Students in grades 5-7 who need additional training are offered summer school. School camps and other outdoor activities, the purpose of which is to broaden the experience of students, are widespread.

From grade 1 to grade 7, students usually work with one or two teachers in their regular group. Special teachers are involved in such disciplines as music and sports.

Pupils of grades 8-10 have the opportunity to partially choose a specialization that divides pupils into groups in accordance with the subjects and expands the circle of specialized teachers.

In grades 11-12, the separation occurs not only in subjects, but also in terms of the level of complexity of learning. This helps students find their own, unique way of development and increases the effectiveness of education.

The state education departments, taking into account the need for students to have a balanced lifestyle, leave enough time for family, leisure, and cultural activities. In the preparatory classes, homework is usually not assumed. In grades 1, 2, and 3, independent work outside the school may occur, but usually not more than one hour per week. At 4 and 5, usually no more than two or three hours a week. At 6-7 no more than 3-4 hours a week, and at 8-9 no more than 4-5. In high school, the amount of homework depends on the individual training plan.

One of the ways to help achieve quality education is to create an atmosphere of mutual respect and tolerance in schools. Programs that allow to solve the problems of discrimination, harassment and intimidation are widespread and are implemented in a variety of ways, from showing educational films and performances to discussing and promoting mutual aid. Violation of the school’s code of conduct leads to serious consequences, including temporary or permanent (in special cases) student exclusion. All these measures provide a fairly peaceful and friendly atmosphere, incl. and in relation to immigrant children.

Also, attention is paid to proper nutrition, the basics of a healthy lifestyle, increasing physical activity and religious education (by choice of the parents). In general, Australian schools actively use information technologies in their work, which allows to avoid paper work and optimize the learning processes. The organization of school space brings students closer to a healthy lifestyle, allows them to spend a lot of time in the fresh air.



Australia, along with the USA and Great Britain, is the leader recognized in the world in the field of export of educational services. Eight Australian universities are among hundred best universities of the world. Education in Australia gives the chance to gain the degree which will be recognized in any developed country of the world and which will open for its owner a way to professional career abroad.

Besides, the Australian program of skilled immigration  gives particular advantages to those who got an education in Australia, having received the Australian qualification after at least two years training. It provides additional opportunities for those people who have sufficient resources and desire to move to the permanent residence to Australia, but for some reason does not meet criteria of business or professional immigration. Having sent children to get an education to Australia, in several years — on condition of the correct planning of immigration process — you will be able to apply and get the so-called parental visa with the rights to live, work and run a business in Australia.


In order that money, efforts and time are not going to waste, the process of immigration via education has to be planned thoroughly. Everything matters — profession, study and training duration, the level of qualification and even the location of educational institution. It is very difficult for a person who is unfamiliar with the Australian education system and with the immigration legislation of Australia to do a right plan without the qualified help. Whom to ask for such help?

The biggest mistake which the person inexperienced in immigration issues can make is looking for advice from an education agent. Education agents are people whose task is delivering students to education providers and earning a commission for it from education institutions. Thus, real needs of the client and his future are indifferent for the educational agent, he does not understand aspects of Australian Immigration Law and cannot give really good advice. There were cases when education agents arranged student's visa for clients incorrectly and student lost any opportunity to prolong visa in Australia.

It was a time when 50% of overseas students in Australia (thanks to education agents) received qualification "the bachelor of business", absolutely useless in real life of the immigrant.

While planning immigration to Australia via education please remember, that education process is only a tool, and the purpose is obtaining the resident status. All efforts of the applicant have to be applied for achievement of the goal and only the expert in the field of the Australian migration legislation can render the most effective help in it.


 What to do if the decision on training of your child at Australian university is already made, and the child hasn't graduated from high school yet? Wether the child has to wait for obtaining secondary school certificate? The Australian schooling period is 12-year and a graduate from overseas school where schooling period less than 12 years won’t be enrolled to Australian University unless he completed the foundation year. Foundation courses help international students who may not initially meet entry requirements to gain entry to undergraduate study at Australian universities and colleges. They also help students adapt to the Australian academic environment and life in Australia. Some foundation courses promise a place at university after successful completion of the course.

The educational methods accepted in Australian higher education institutions strongly differ from those which are practicing in higher education institutions in most not English speaking countries. In Australian high school pupils prepare for what soon they should face when study at the universities. Overseas school students come to Australia not adapted at all and except language problems and a stress receives from change of a situation they also face methodological issues.

In this regard it is worth to sign the contract for education in Australian school, get student visa and send the child to adsorb in Australian school system with the company of koalas and kangaroos. This also gives to parents the chance to obtain guardian visa to live in Australia together with the kid till he is 18.


Requirements of Australian Migration Regulation to level of proficiency in English for applicants constantly grow. It was possible recently to immigrate to this country, having passed IELTS examination on 5.5. This days, especially with introduction of new system of points calculation even IELTS-6 may be insufficient. It is good if there is a back ground in the form of a English special school or language education and if it is absent? How can the adult learn from scratch language to the level sufficient for immigration? Practice shows that such task has the decision: it is necessary to learn English by "an dipping method", in English-speaking country.

Australia gives numerous opportunities of training for those who want to master English. There is a special class of the student visa for the courses ELICOS . These courses also exist just to train foreigner for passing language tests necessary for training at educational institutions or for immigration purposes.

Besides, there are various language schools and also the TAFE programs — the Australian public institution of professional education — designed for students with any level of English.

SydneyVisa Pty Ltd is ready to provide you the necessary professional help in comprehensive planning and implementation of process of immigration to Australia through training and also assistance in obtaining student visas. This service includes free of charge search of educational institution and selection of the necessary course according to your desires and opportunities.

Australian Universitities

There are 47 higher education institutions in Australia and most of them are government funded and supported.

Every year, Australia spends more than $ 55 billion on education, which equates to about 4.6% of GDP. Such investments allow universities to give each student a greater educational support, which, in turn, makes Australian graduates sought-after specialists around the world. A range of academic fields offered by Australian universities is vast and includes over 2000 specialisations. The choice of areas for future professional growth is very wide and includes both the most popular (business, engineering) and rare specializations that prepare professionals who are quite unique (oceanology, tropical medicine).

Diversity of Australian universities allows students to choose the course based not only on the expected specialization and cost of education, but also based on geographical location of the campus. Some university campuses are based in state capital cities while others are located in quitter suburbs or even regional locations. Certain unis have spread their bodies in tropical latitudes (Charles Darwin University in Darwin), and others in cooler temperate climates (University of Tasmania in Hobart).

Both the oldest universities in Australia (Universities of Sydney and Melbourne), and the young ones are waiting for their students. Australian younger universities are known for their use of the experience of leading figures for its development, the University of Bond and the Sunshine Coast. Among them is Griffith University located in Gold Coast which is known as the most innovative university in Australia.  

The oldest universities unite into an informal group of “sandstones” (based on the material from which the first campuses were built). The main features of sandstone universities are prestige, focus on research and tilt towards stronger theoretical knowledge rather than practical application. According to statistics, students of sandstone universities are mainly children from wealthy families. Graduates tend to get higher paying and influential positions.

Sandstone Universities of Australia

Name Location Year of establishment Website
University of Sydney Sydney, New South Wales 1850
University of Melbourne Melbourne, Victoria 1853
University of Adelaide Adelaide, South Australia 1874
University of Tasmania Tasmania, three campuses 1890
University of Queensland Brisbane, Queensland 1909
University of Western Australia Perth, Western Australia 1911

In 1999 eight leading Australian universities have merged into the Group of Eight. The members of this association are the most respected and highly regarded higher educational institutions of the country, to be trained in one of these institutions means to be guaranteed to a higher social status in the future. Go8 includes:

  • Australian National University
  • University of Queensland
  • University of Sydney
  • University of Western Australia
  • University of New South Wales
  • University of Melbourne
  • University of Adelaide
  • Monash University

In choosing a place of admission you can be guided by national and international ratings, compiled annually and taking into account many parameters that are important for the quality of educational services provided. For 2011, the top best universities (in terms of the Shanghai ranking) include:

National rank University World Rank
1 University of Melbourne 60
2 Australian National University 70
3 University of Queensland 86
4 University of Sydney                                   96
5 University of Western Australia                 102-150
6-7 Monash University 151-200
6-7 University of New South Wales 151-200
8-9 Macquarie University 201-300
8-9 University of Adelaide 201-300
10-13 Flinders University 301-400
10-13 James Cook University 301-400
10-13 University of Newcastle 301-400
10-13 University of Tasmania 301-400
14-19 Curtin University of Technology 401-500
14-19 Griffith University 401-500
14-19 La Trobe University 401-500
14-19 Swinburne University of Technology 401-500
14-19 University of Technology Sydney 401-500
20 University of Wollongong 401-500

But it would be a mistake to rely only on the world rankings when making such an important life decision as the choice of a future university. It is worth exploring the internal structure of the school and the advantages that it will give you. University websites will help you to make this decision. Websites have accessible and comprehensive information about the rules of admission, features of training and the choice of specializations. Lets take a closer look at some of the most famous Australian universities.

The University of Melbourne (The University of Melbourne), located in the capital of the state of Victoria, one of the oldest educational institutions in the state, was founded in 1853. In 2010 it entered the ranking of the 200 best world universities (36th place). The teaching of medical and natural sciences is conducted at a particularly high level. It is one of the leading research centres in Australia, and therefore attracts a wide stream of government subsidies and grants.

There are 12 departments at the University of Melbourne (many of which have postgraduate studies) where about 35,000 students are enrolled. Campuses are located in the suburbs of Melbourne, Parkville, and throughout the state of Victoria.

University organizers have used the achievements of various European universities, especially Oxford. The structures of many buildings are works of architecture and are historical monuments.

Students can use the library, which is recognized to have one of the most comprehensive collections of books in Australia and has more than 3.5 million units of various works

Great attention is paid to the sports life of students. There are 39 sport clubs in the university, and it has repeatedly become the absolute champion of the national Universiade.

The cultural life of students is not ignored either. Exhibitions, concerts, theater performances, public lectures are held on university campuses. The variety of student clubs by interests (from ecological to chocolate lovers' club) will provide quick socialization and peer support to the newcomer.

Australian National University (Australian National University) is located in Canberra, the capital of Australia. It was formed in 1946. About 10,000 students and 7,500 graduate students study there. 2 prime ministers and 5 Nobel laureates graduated from this educational institution. In 2006 it was named the best Australian university.

ANU is divided into 7 academic colleges, each of which has several faculties, academic schools and centers. There is the Research School of Astronomy and Astrophysics at the university, on the basis of which the Siding Spring Observatory is based — the largest on the Australian continent.

The university has a wide range of sports and cultural clubs, shops, cafes and student support centers.

The University of Queensland is the oldest university in the state of Queensland, with about 40,000 students. The main campus of the university is located in one of the districts of Brisbane - Saint-Lucia.

The university is one of Australia's leading research universities. It includes:

  • Institute of Molecular Biological Sciences
  • Australian Institute of Bioengineering and Nanotechnology
  • Queensland Brain Institute

In addition, the university is included in other research centers, such as the Queensland Institute for Medical Research at the Royal Brisbane Hospital.

The university provides training in the following areas:

  • arts;
  • business, economics and law;
  • design, architecture and information technology;
  • medical, natural, social sciences.

Students are provided with accommodation assistance (on campus or beyond its borders), and legal advice is provided.

Individual tuition fees are be calculated on the university website.

University of Sydney (University of Sydney) - the oldest state university in Australia, located in Sydney, New South Wales. It is within the top twenty universities of the for many positions. Uni of Sydney consists of sixteen faculties and schools which offers bachelor, master and doctoral degrees.

The five largest faculties and schools are:

  • humanities and social sciences;
  • business;
  • natural sciences;
  • engineering and information technology;
  • medical sciences.

In 2011, about 50,000 students studied in the Uni of Sydney. Three Nobel laureates, two governors-general, 5 prime ministers, the president of the UN General Assembly and many other socially significant personalities studied and taught here.

The university library, consisting of 13 branches, is the largest academic collection of materials in the southern hemisphere.

The University of Western Australia (The University of Western Australia) is located in Perth. About 20,000 students (4,000 of them are foreign) and post-graduate students are studying at 9:

  • Architecture and Fine Arts
  • Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences
  • Business School
  • Education
  • Engineering, computational technology and mathematics
  • Law and Law
  • Natural and Physical Sciences
  • Medicine, Dentistry and Health
  • Agricultural Sciences.

The university library has 7 branches.

UWA cooperates with more than 40 foreign scientific and research centers, sends its students to exchange to the best universities in the world. The university has more than 80 of its own research centers, including the Center for Crime Research, the Center for Forensic Science, the Center for Water Research and the Center for Oil and Gas Engineering.

Many UWA graduates have excelled in science, politics, and business.

The university provides its students with opportunities for sports, including football, hockey, rugby, swimming and many others. UWA campuses provide students with a high level of comfort and a wide range of social, cultural and sports activities. Student clubs are represented by more than 200 titles. Through the efforts of both the students themselves and famous cultural figures, concerts, exhibitions and theatrical performances are held.

The University of New South Wales (  is located in Sydney’s Kengingston (main campus) and Paddington (College of Art), as well as in Canberra (Australian Defence Force Academy). More than 50,000 students are trained at UNSW, 15,000 of which are foreigners.

8 faculties are waiting for their students:

  • Humanities and Social Sciences
  • Business,
  • Anthropogenic environment
  • Fine arts
  • Mechanical Engineering
  • Law
  • Medicine,
  • Natural Sciences.

In addition to providing solid knowledge, the university creates an environment for its students in which students from all over the world can excel in their study and research programs (concerts, conferences, exhibitions). UNSW has more than 100 of its own research centers (such as the National Center for Epidemiology, the Center for Cancer Research) and participates in 15 joint research projects.

The University of Adelaide (The University of Adelaide) is located in the center of Adelaide (main campus) and in different parts of South Australia (four campuses). It consists of 5 faculties:

  1. Faculty of Engineering, Computer and Mathematical Sciences:
    • School of Petroleum;
    • School of Chemical Engineering;
    • School of Civil and Mining Engineers;
    • School of Computer Science;
    • Center for Innovation and Commercialization;
    • School of Electrical Engineering and Electronics;
    • School of Mathematical Sciences;
    • Schools of engineering.
  2. Faculty of Health Sciences:
    • School of Dentistry;
    • School of Medical Sciences;
    • Medical school;
    • School of Pediatrics and Reproductive Health;
    • School of Public Health and Clinical Practice;
    • School of Psychology.
  3. Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences:
    • Conservatory of Music;
    • School of History and Politics;
    • School of Humanities;
    • School of Social Sciences.
  4. Professional Faculty:
  5. School of Architecture, Landscape Architecture and Urban Design;

    • Business School;
    • School of Economics;
    • School of Education;
    • Law school.
  6. Faculty of Natural Sciences:
    • School of Agriculture, Food and Wine;
    • School of Chemistry and Physics;
    • School of Earth and Environmental Sciences;
    • School of Molecular and Biomedical Science;
    • School of Veterinary Sciences.

There are 42 research centers at the universities, including the Center for Water Research, the Center for Economic Research, the Center for Medical Engineering, etc.

The university has about 25,000 students, including 4,500 foreign students from more than 90 countries. Students organized more than 90 cultural clubs and 35 sports.

5 Nobel laureates, the Prime Minister, the cosmonaut graduated the University of Adelaide

The university library has more than 2 million units of storage in its fund.

Monash University (Monash University) is located in Melbourne (Victoria). Founded in 1958 and named after the Australian general of the First World War, John Monash. This is the largest university in Australia, which is attended by about 55 thousand students. In addition to 6 campuses in Victoria, Monash University has two overseas campuses: one in Malaysia and one in South Africa.

Monash University has 100 of its own research centers (for example, the Stem Cell Center, the Gas Production Research Center) and participates in 17 joint projects.

The university is divided into 10 faculties:

  • Faculty of Fine Art and Design,
  • Faculty of Arts,
  • Faculty of Business and Economics,
  • Faculty of Education,
  • Faculty of Engineering,
  • Faculty of Information Technology,
  • Faculty of Law,
  • Faculty of Medicine, Nurses and Medical Sciences,
  • Faculty of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Science,
  • Faculty of Natural Sciences.

Recently, Monash University has received recognition from the world community for research in the field of stem cells.

The Monash University library contains over 3.5 million volumes in its collections.

47 sports clubs and many sports facilities on each campus (swimming pools, courts, football fields and stadiums) are open to students. 1,100 Monash graduates are on the list of famous people in Australia.

When choosing a university to study, you should always remember that the ultimate goal of obtaining an Australian education is the status of permanent resident of Australia. The immigration process through education should be carefully planned.  An invaluable assistance with this planning process can be obtained through an experienced expert in Australian immigration law.

Living in Australia