Education in Victoria


Education in Victoria

Education in Victoria, Australia is supervised by the Department of Education and Early Childhood Development (DEECD), which is part of the State Government.

Education in Victoria follows the three-tier model consisting of primary education (primary schools), followed by secondary education (secondary schools or secondary colleges) and tertiary education (Universities and TAFE Colleges).

School education is compulsory in Victoria between the ages of six and fifteen. ["Education and Training Reform Act" 2006, sec. 2.1.1] A student is free to leave school on turning sixteen, which is prior to completing secondary education. In recent years over three quarters of students are reported to be staying on until they are eighteenFact|date=December 2007, at the end of the secondary school level. Government schools educate about two thirds of Victorian students, with the other third in independent schools, a proportion which is rising in many parts of Australia.

Education in government schools until year 12 is free, ["Education and Training Reform Act" 2006, sec. 2.2.4] , but this does not apply to overseas students nor to students over the age of 20 on 1 January of the year of enrolment. Independent schools, both religious and secular, charge fees, which are subsidised by the Federal and State governments.

Regardless of whether a school is government or independent, they are required to adhere to the same curriculum frameworks. Education in all government schools must be secular and not promote any particular religious practice, denomination or sect. ["Education and Training Reform Act" 2006, sec. 2.2.10] Most school students, be they in a government or independent school, usually wear uniforms, although there are varying expectations and some schools do not require uniforms.

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 Victoria generally runs from late January until mid-December for primary and secondary schools and TAFE colleges, and from late February until mid-November for universities. Victorian schools operate on a four term basis. Schools are closed for the Victorian public holidays. Universities observe the Commonwealth public holidays.

History

Prior to 1872 religious/denominational schools were maintained separately from government schools. The Denominational School Board provided for denominational schools and the National School Board, later the Board of Education, provided government sponsored secular education. In 1872, following growing dissatisfaction with State aid to religious schools and the burgeoning cost of funding and administering a dual school system, the government introduced free, compulsory and secular education and established the first Education Department. The Department became the employer of government teachers and Victoria had a Minister for Education. State aid to denominational schools ended in 1874.

Tiers

Pre-school

Pre-school in Victoria is relatively unregulated and not compulsory. The first exposure many Australian children have to learn with others outside of traditional parenting is day care or a parent-run playgroup. This sort of activity is not generally considered schooling. Pre-school education is separate from primary school.

Pre-schools are usually run by local councils, community groups or private organizations. Pre-school is offered to three to five year olds. Attendance in pre-school is 93% in Victoria. The year before a child is due to attend primary school is the main year for pre-school education. This year is far more commonly attended, and usually takes the form of a few hours of activity five days a week.

Primary Schools

Primary education consists of seven grades: a Preparatory year (commonly called "Prep") followed by Years 1 to 6. The minimum age at which a Victorian child can commence primary school education is 4.8 years. That is, the child can enroll in a school at the preparatory level if he or she would be five years of age by 30 April of that year. A Victorian child must commence education before age six.

econdary Schools

Secondary schools consist of Years 7 to 12. Secondary schools are usually separate institutions to primary schools, though some non-government schools combine primary and secondary levels.

Curriculum

The curriculum for all Victorian schools, government and non-governments, from Preparatory year to Year 12 is determined by the Victorian Curriculum and Assessment Authority (VCAA). Between prep and Year 10 the Victorian Essential Learning Standards (VELS) framework applies. For Years 11 to 12 the Victorian Certificate of Education (VCE) program applies.

Assessment

Students in Years 11 to 12, whether in government or non-government schools, normally are assessed for the Victorian Certificate of Education (VCE). The curriculum and assessment is determined by the Victorian Curriculum and Assessment Authority (VCAA) and the final ENTER (Equivalent National Tertiary Entrance Rank) score, used for advancement to tertiary education, is determined by the Victorian Tertiary Admissions Centre (VTAC). Year 11 and 12 students may study under the Victorian Certificate of Applied Learning (VCAL) or International Baccalaureate programs in place of the VCE. (List of schools offering the International Baccalaureate Primary Years Programme)

Literacy and numeracy skills of Victorian school students are monitored by the Achievement Improvement Monitor (AIM) program. Each student's skills are assessed at Years 3, 5, 7 and 9 levels.

Providers

Government or state schools

The state government owns and operates schools at both primary and secondary levels. These schools are generally called government or state schools. They do not charge compulsory fees, with the majority of their costs being met by the government, and the rest by voluntary levies and by fund raising.

Two government secondary schools are selective: Melbourne High School, catering for boys, and Mac.Robertson Girls' High School, catering for girls. These offer classes from Years 9 to 12 and cater for academically gifted students. There are also schools which specialise in performing arts and sports. The remainder are open schools which accept all students from the government-defined catchment areas. Selective schools are more prestigious than open government schools, and, as one would expect, generally achieve better results in the school-leaving exams than independent or open government schools. Entrance to selective schools is by examination and they cater to a large geographical area.

According to the Schools Australia Preliminary Report, released by the Australian Bureau of Statistics on 4 February 2008, the number of students enrolled in Victorian state schools was 535,883 in 2007 — a drop of 234 students on the 2006 figures, while the non-government sector stood at 297,970 in 2007 - a gain of 4,252 students. The non-government sector, which includes Catholic, private and Jewish schools, recorded steady growth since 2002, gaining more than 16,890 students in the past five years.

However, while government schools recorded a fall in student numbers in the past two years, the sector recorded growth between 2002 and 2005, and in the past five years recorded an overall gain of 2,466 students.

Despite a five-year growth in the numbers of students attending government schools, the number of Victorian government schools fell to 1,592 in 2007, down from 1,605 in 2006 and 1,613 in 2005. The number of independent schools rose from 210 in 2006 to 214 in 2007.

As at 3 August 2007, teacher-student ratios were higher in the Victorian government sector, at 13.8, compared with 12.9 in the non-government sector. However, in both sectors Victoria compared favourably with national figures: the national teacher-student ratio in government schools was higher at 14.2, and 13.8 in the non-government sector.

There was a rise in the number of teaching staff in Victoria, up from 68,697 in 2006 to 70,342 in 2007.

Non-government schools

Most Catholic schools are either run by their local parish and/or by the state's Catholic Education Department.

Non-Catholic non-government schools (often called "Independent" schools) include schools operated by religious groups and secular educational philosophies such as Montessori.

Some independent schools charge high fees. Government funding for independent schools often comes under criticism from the Australian Education Union and the Australian Labor Party.

Home Schooling

Tertiary institutions

The classification of tertiary qualifications in Victoria is governed in part by the Australian Qualifications Framework (AQF), which attempts to integrate into a single national classification all levels of tertiary education (both vocational and higher education), from trade certificates to higher doctorates.

However, as Universities in Australia (and a few similar higher education institutions) largely regulate their own courses, the primary usage of AQF is for vocational education. However in recent years there have been some informal moves towards standardization between higher education institutions.

Technical and Further Education (TAFE)

Technical and Further Education (TAFE) institutes are state-administered. TAFE institutions generally offer short courses, Certificates I, II, III, and IV, Diplomas, and Advanced Diplomas in a wide range of vocational topics. They also sometimes offer Higher Education courses.

In addition to TAFE Institutes, there are approximately 1100 privately operated Registered Training Organisations (RTOs). They include:
* commercial training providers,
* the training department of manufacturing or service enterprises,
* the training function of employer or employee organisations in a particular industry,
* Group Training Companies,
* community learning centres and neighbourhood houses,
* secondary colleges providing VET programs.

In size these RTOs vary from single-person operations delivering training and assessment in a narrow specialisation, to large organisations offering a wide range of programs. Many of them receive government funding to deliver programs to apprentices or trainees, to disadvantaged groups, or in fields which governments see as priority areas.

All TAFE institutes and private RTOs are required to maintain compliance with a set of national standards called the Australian Quality Training Framework (AQTF), and this compliance is monitored by regular internal and external audits.

Vocational education and training (VET) VET programs delivered by TAFE Institutes and private RTOs are based on nationally registered qualifications, derived from either endorsed sets of competency standards known as Training Packages, or from courses accredited by state/territory government authorities. These qualifications are regularly reviewed and updated. In specialised areas where no publicly owned qualifications exist, an RTO may develop its own course and have it accredited as a privately owned program, subject to the same rules as those that are publicly owned.

All trainers and assessors delivering VET programs are required to hold a qualification known as the Certificate IV in Training and Assessment (TAA40104) or demonstrate equivalent competency. They are also required to have relevant vocational competencies, at least to the level being delivered or assessed.

See also

*Victorian Essential Learning Standards
*Victorian Certificate of Education (VCE)
*Victorian Certificate of Applied Learning
*Victorian Curriculum and Assessment Authority (VCAA)
*Victorian Tertiary Admissions Centre (VTAC)
*List of schools in Victoria
*Education in Australia
*Department of Education and Early Childhood Development

References

External links

* [http://www.education.vic.gov.au Department of Education and Early Childhood Development, Victoria website] :* [http://www.education.vic.gov.au/about/default.htm About the Department] :* [http://www.education.vic.gov.au/about/directions/changestodepartment.htm Changes to the Department]
* [http://www.education.vic.gov.au/about/structure/default.htm Facts and figures about Victoria's education system]
* [http://www.education.vic.gov.au/about/keydates/termdates.htm School term dates for Victoria]
* [http://www.education.vic.gov.au/about/statutory/default.htm Statutory Authorities in the Victorian education portfolio]


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