The higher education system of Australia has both government and private institutions in it. If a university or college is seen as part of the higher education system (also known as tertiary education), then it was either established by or is recognized by the Australian government as a tertiary institution. Higher education programs include all of the schools that cover Levels I through 10 according to the Australian Qualifications Framework (AQF).
Vocational and Technical Schools
There are hundreds of other schools out there that provide technical and further education (TAFE) and vocational education and training (VET). These schools offer short courses, certificates I through IV, diplomas, and advanced diplomas. They focus on training their students in a particular vocation or just to help their students get out into the work place. These include, but are not limited to:
- Commercial training providers, usually run by a company or of their own accord.
- The training department of manufacturing or service enterprises, which provide services to the employees that they already have or employees that have just been hired.
- The training function of employer or employee organizations in a particular industry, which provide services to the employees that they already have or employees that have just been hired.
- Group Training Companies.
- Community learning centers and neighborhood houses.
- Secondary colleges providing VET programs.
There are also a number of smaller schools that you can find, which are not accredited, that will give you the same quality of vocational and/or technical education for a lower price; you just have to do your research to see if you can find one that suits your needs.
Universities and Higher Education
As of 2009, the Australia higher education system had 41 universities. 37 of the universities are public, 2 are private, and 2 of them are Australian branches of universities that are located overseas. There are also 3 self-accrediting higher education institutions. There are also dozens of smaller schools that do not grant any degrees or have accreditation – these are private schools that focus on theology, business, information technology, natural therapies, hospitality, health, law and accounting.
Most Australian universities are self-accrediting institutions that each run under a legislation (usually at the state or territory level). They get most of their funding from the Australian government through the Higher Education Support Act 2003. This act put the existing aims of universities into legal terms, recognized each of the universities, and introduced measures to strength the knowledge base of the country. Essentially, this act made it so that Australian universities were able to obtain money from the federal government via grants and loans.
Most of the syllabus are set by the universities that are offering the courses, and are not controlled by any government entity. Even though the higher education system is more unified than that of other countries, each university is still able to set their own coursework and program requirements. As with most countries, the teacher education program is the exception to this rule; the Australian Institute for Teaching and School Leadership oversees any and all requirements related to becoming an educator in any age group.
Many Australian universities are featured in top 100 lists for international universities from around the world. The University of Melbourne and the Australian National University are two of the most well-known and well-respected universities in the world. If you are considering pursuing your higher education, whether vocational or academic, in Australia, you are in good hands. You will get a world-class education at a fair price that will make you ready for the world that you will be working in.