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Alliance Education Services > Education System

The Australian Education System

Australia offers a diverse range of study options for international students, with more than 1,200 institutions and over 22,000 courses to choose from.

You can study at all levels of education from primary and secondary school, to vocational education and training (VET), from English language courses to higher education (including universities).

Regardless of what you are studying or how long you are studying for, Australia’s laws promote quality education and protection for international students.

The Education Services for Overseas Students (ESOS) Act 2000 and the National Code of Practice for Registration Authorities and Providers of Education and Training to Overseas Students 2007 (National Code) provide nationally consistent standards for providers of education and training for international students.

As an international student on a student visa, you must study with an institution and in a course that is registered on the Commonwealth Register of Institutions and Courses for Overseas Students (CRICOS). CRICOS registration guarantees that the course and the institution at which you study meet the high standards expected by international students. You can search for courses and institutions here on the Study in Australia website.

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Along with the ESOS Act and National Code, there are also regulatory and quality assurance organisations for higher education and VET institutions. These government organisations are responsible for registration/re-registration of institutions and accreditation/re-accreditation of courses. These organisations are:

So no matter the type of course you want to study, how long you want to study for or where you want to study, you can be assured that in Australia you will have a high quality and rewarding study experience.

Australian Education System

The Australian Education System provides primary, secondary and tertiary education.

School education (Primary and Secondary)

School education is similar across all of Australia with only minor variations between states and territories. School education (primary and secondary) is compulsory between the ages of six and sixteen (Year 1 to Year 9 or 10). School education is 13 years and divided into:

  • Primary school – Runs for seven or eight years, starting at Kindergarten/Preparatory through to Year 6 or 7.
  • Secondary school – Runs for three or four years, from Years 7 to 10 or 8 to 10.
  • Senior secondary school – Runs for two years, Years 11 and 12.

 

Tertiary education

Tertiary education includes both higher education (including universities) and vocational education and training (VET).

Language of instruction

English is the official language of Australia and the main language of instruction in the education system. Many schools offer bilingual programs or programs in other languages.

Australian Qualifications Framework

The Australian education system is distinguished from many other countries by the Australian Qualifications Framework (AQF). (opens in a new window) The AQF was established in 1995 and is a national policy that covers qualifications from the tertiary education sector (higher education and vocational education and training) in addition to the school-leaving certificate; the Senior Secondary Certificate of Education.

The AQF has 10 levels and links school, vocational and university education qualifications into one national system. This allows you to move easily from one level of study to the next and from one institution to another, as long as you satisfy student visa requirements. It allows for choice and flexibility in career planning. All qualifications in the AQF help prepare you for both further study and your working life.

If you are studying an AQF qualification, you can be sure that your institution is Government-authorised and nationally accredited, and that your degree or other AQF qualification will be genuine.

Our institutions are linked across the country and across the world, which makes it easy to move throughout the education system between courses or institutions and formal agreement and recognition frameworks mean every step of the path will contribute to your future no matter what your study or career goals.