Australia is a land of contrasts. It is the world’s smallest continent and the sixth largest country by total area. Its landscape includes tropical rain forests, mountain ranges and dry deserts, and its coastline extends for more than 34,000 kilometres.
Australia is the world’s 12th largest economy. It ranks highly in many international comparisons of national performance, such as quality of life, health, education, economic freedom and the protection of civil liberties and political rights.
A MULTI CULTURAL COUNTRY
25% of Australia’s population of 23 million was born overseas, and 43% of its citizens have a parent who was born overseas. Australians speak over 260 different languages and the first language of 20% of the population is a language other than English.
The following principles inform Australia’s attitude to its culturally diverse population. The Australian government:
- celebrates and values the benefits of cultural diversity for all Australians within the broader aims of national unity, community harmony and maintenance of democratic values.
- is committed to a just, inclusive and socially cohesive society where everyone can participate in the opportunities that Australia offers, and where government services are responsive to the needs of Australians.
- welcomes the economic, trade and investment benefits which arise from our successful multicultural nation.
- will act to promote understanding and acceptance while responding to expressions of intolerance and discrimination with strength, and where necessary, with the force of the law.
CHOOSING AN AUSTRALIAN EDUCATION
There are currently just over 515,000 international students studying in Australian schools, colleges and universities. They come to Australia to study because of its reputation for educational excellence, the high standard of living enjoyed by its citizens, the career opportunities available to everyone, regardless of class or family background, and the multicultural nature of its population. 54,000 of these students currently have Indian citizenship.
Australian education qualifications are recognised by international employers and leading education institutions all over the world.
International students studying in Australian education institutions are supported by the Australian Government through the Education Services for Overseas Students (ESOS) Act. The ESOS Act guarantees high standards of education delivery, facilities, international student support services and marketing.
TEACHING AND LEARNING STYLE:
The Australian education system is student-centred. It is designed to produce graduates who have a sound theoretical understanding of their subjects, who can apply the knowledge they have gained in the ‘real’ world, and who can think critically and act independently.
TYPES OF INSTITUTES
The Australian education system is broadly divided into the university, vocational, school and English language sectors.
There are currently 40 universities in Australia, 38 of which are Australian Government universities. All Higher Education Providers are subject to an extensive quality control régime. This is conducted by the Tertiary Education Quality and Standards Agency (TEQSA) www.teqsa.gov.au. Australian Universities offer a range of pathway programs, undergraduate and postgraduate coursework degrees, and postgraduate research degrees.
TAFE (TECHNICAL AND FURTHER EDUCATION) INSTITUTES:
These are state-based institutes of vocational training run by government-funded Registered Training Organisations (RTOs). They offer practically oriented Vocational Education and Training (VET) courses that train students in the appropriate skills they need in the workplace.
The TAFE sector is the largest education and training sector in Australia. Each year thousands of international students come to Australia to take advantage of the extensive range of courses and subject areas that provide practical skills and vocational training for a huge variety of careers.
PRIVATE VOCATIONAL COLLEGES:
These privately owned RTO’s offer a range of vocational courses similar to those offered by the TAFE system.
Each Australian State offers students a choice of primary and secondary education in publically-funded (government) schools or in private schools. The children of international students are eligible to study in either system.
OVERSEAS STUDENT HEALTH COVER (OSHC):
Australia has a system of compulsory health insurance for international students called OSHC. This is arranged for each student during the application process, and prior to their arrival in Australia. The department of Immigration and Citizenship requires students to maintain their OSHC for the duration of their time on a student visa in Australia.
PART TIME EMPLOYMENT
An Australian student visa allows international students to work up to 40 hours per fortnight (a two-week period) during semester time, and full-time during official vacation periods.