Education in Australia is primarily the responsibility of the states and territories. Each state or territory government provides funding and regulates the public and private schools within its governing area. The federal government helps fund the public universities, but was not involved in setting curriculum. Generally, education in Australia follows the three-tier model which includes primary education (primary schools), followed by secondary education (secondary schools/high schools) and tertiary education (universities and/or TAFE colleges).
Education in Australia is compulsory between the ages of five and fifteen to seventeen, depending on the state or territory, and date of birth. Post-compulsory education is regulated within the Australian Qualifications Framework, a unified system of national qualifications in schools, vocational education and training (TAFE) and the higher education sector (university).
The academic year in Australia varies between states and institutions, but generally runs from late January/early February until mid-December for primary and secondary schools, with slight variations in the inter-term holidays and TAFE colleges, and from late February until mid-November for universities with seasonal holidays and breaks for each educational institute.
Australia has a national curriculum framework to ensure high academic standards across the country. All schools provide subjects in the eight key learning areas: English, mathematics, studies of the society and the environment, science, arts, Languages Other Than English, technology, and personal development, health and physical education. Schools have English language programs for international students to support their studies.
At secondary school level, choice and diversity are increased as schools are able to offer a wide range of subjects, delivered by highly trained and experienced teachers, and using state-of-the-art technology including the Internet, multimedia equipment and laboratories.
Many students use senior secondary study to gain university entry qualifications. Around nine out of every 10 Australian secondary schools also offer vocational education programs in addition to the standard school curriculum.