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, although the Federal government also funds independent or private schools. The federal government helps fund the public universities, but was not involved in setting university 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, TAFE colleges and Vocation Education and Training providers/VET providers).
The Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA) 2006 evaluation ranked the Australian education system as sixth for reading, eighth for science and thirteenth for mathematics, on a worldwide scale including 56 countries. The PISA 2009 evaluation ranked the Australian education system as sixth for reading, seventh for science and ninth for mathematics, an improvement relative to the 2006 rankings.
Education in Australia is compulsory between the ages of five and fifteen, sixteen or 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
School education in Australia is compulsory between certain ages as specified by state or territory legislation. Depending on the state or territory, and date of birth of the child, school is compulsory from the age of five to six to the age of fifteen to seventeen. In recent years, over three quarters of students stay at school until they are seventeen. Government schools educate approximately 60% of Australian students, with approximately 40% in Catholic and independent schools. A small portion of students are legally home-schooled, particularly in rural areas.
Government schools (also known as public schools) are free to attend for Australian citizens and permanent residents, while Catholic and independent schools usually charge attendance fees. However, in addition to attendance fees, stationery, textbooks, uniforms, school camps and other schooling costs are not covered under government funding. The additional cost for schooling has been estimated to be on average $316 per year per child. Regardless of whether a school is part of the Government, Catholic or independent systems, they are required to adhere to the same curriculum frameworks of their state or territory.