All areas of education, excluding universities, are regulated by the governments of the states and territories. The Australian federal government is responsible for all educational funding of primary and secondary education and provides state funding for those states who cooperate ("Australia").
Australian children are required by federal law to attend school between the ages of 6 and 15 years of age ("Australia"). Most children begin school around the age of 5 and more than half of the secondary school students remain in school until the end of their 12th year ("Australia"). Federal requirements to attend school and the encouragement to remain in school has resulted in high literacy rates for the country of Australia.
Three-quarters of Australia's students attend free-government funded schools ("Australia"). The remaining quarter attend private institutions that are usually Roman Catholic schools receiving government assistance ("Australia"). The curriculum taught in both types of schools is fundamentally the same. The traditional reading, writing, and arithmetic are the primary core subjects and are accompanied by many options or electives. Educational institutions are required to offer specialty services for those who need them. Examples of specialty needs would include the following: educational, psychological, and vocational counseling, assistance for Aboriginal children and adults, programs offering English as a second language, and courses for the "gifted" and handicapped ("Australia").
Until recently, there have been several areas of curriculum that were overlooked. Foreign languages, for one, have been overlooked and disregarded in years past. Recently, Australia has began to promote the teaching of foreign languages in the class room. Languages such as Asian, Indonesian, Japanese, and Chinese are a few of the languages that are receiving a great deal of focus ("Australia"). The same amount of emphasis has been place on applied sciences and technology and computer literacy courses.
Once primary and secondary levels of education are complete, a student may continue their education by moving up to the tertiary level. Tertiary education is provided by privately funded and run universities and colleges (Click here for a list of Colleges and Universities). If college is the right fit for you, students may choose to go to a TAFE institution. TAFE stands for "Technical and Further Education" ("Australia"). TAFE institutions are funded and controlled by the federal government ("Australia"). These institutions provide an alternative for students who can't afford a university education.
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