Australia Migration, Immigration Australia, Migrating to Australia
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Education in Australia


Education is primarily the responsibility of the six states and the Northern Territory. In each the training and recruitment of teachers are centralized under an education department. The federal government is responsible for the provision of education in Australia’s external territories, and for the funding of universities and colleges of advanced education. It also has special responsibility for student assistance, and education programmes for the Aboriginal community as well as for children from non-English-speaking backgrounds. Education is compulsory between the ages of 6 and 15 in all except Tasmania, where the upper age limit is 16. Most children, however, start school at five. State schools provide free secular education; students may attend religious classes provided by the clergy of various denominations. About 72 per cent of children attend state schools which are normally co-educational and comprehensive in structure. 

In addition to the state school system there are private schools, which are usually denominational, often single sex, and charge tuition fees. A number of private schools, which in some states are called public schools, as in Great Britain, accept day students and boarders. Special arrangements are made for children living in the remote outback, or otherwise isolated from the school system, including extension learning schemes, and radio tuition through the Schools of the Air. Schooling is provided at kindergartens and play centres for children from 2 to 6 years of age; the Australian Broadcasting Corporation conducts broadcasts for kindergarten children unable to attend such centres. Most children transfer from the primary to the secondary school level at the age of 12. Secondary schools, known as high schools and secondary colleges, provide five- or six-year courses which enable final-year students to take state examinations for university entrance. In the early 1990s Australia had more than 10,000 state and private primary and secondary schools, with a combined annual enrolment of some 3 million students. 

Specialized Schools

The federal government maintains training colleges for the defence services, the Australian Forestry School in Canberra, and the School of Pacific Administration in Sydney. The last mentioned conducts training programmes attended primarily by civil service administrators from Papua New Guinea. Federal funds also support the Australian Film, Television and Radio School, the Australian Maritime College, and the National Institute of Dramatic Art. 

Universities and Colleges

In 1994 Australia had 38 universities, including two significant private institutions, and a large number of colleges offering advanced education in specific subject areas. Their combined enrolment was approximately 530,000. Among the leading universities are the Australian National University (founded in 1946), in the Australian Capital Territory; Macquarie University (1964), the University of New South Wales (1948), and the University of Sydney (1850), in New South Wales; the University of Queensland (1910); the University of Adelaide (1874), in South Australia; the University of Tasmania (1890); La Trobe University (1964), the University of Melbourne (1853), and Monash University (1958), in Victoria; and the University of Western Australia (1911). 



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