Education and Training Sector

An Expert's View about Education in Australia

Posted on: 28 Sep 2012

Recently the Federal Government has pushed states to adopt a more unified national educational structure, which includes starting and leaving ages, standard tests and a national curriculum.

The Education and Training sector in Australia The Australian education and training sector has a great reputation in all areas of learning. It is a key area of policy for the Government and market similarities can facilitate entry for British company’s strategy. Market overview Australia’s economy continues to be one of the strongest in the world. While the strength of the Australian dollar has caused problems for some local companies, it has made imported goods and services more attractive. Education in Australia was modelled initially on the British system, with primary and secondary education being followed by vocational or university education. This system is still in place but over the years provision of education has become uneven across the country because it is regulated by state governments. Recently the Federal Government has pushed states to adopt a more unified national structure, which includes starting and leaving ages, standard tests and a national curriculum. Some of this is still in the process of being introduced. Recent trends include: ξ A Federal Government initiative to ensure universal access to preschools, including the provision of preschool education in long day care centres. ξ A growth in enrolments in private schools. There are now 1.2 million students in private establishments, with 2.3 million in government schools. Private schools receive significant funding from government sources but retain a good deal of autonomy. ξ In universities the demand for postgraduate courses has grown faster than that for undergraduate courses, as higher educational qualifications are becoming necessary for employment. ξ Online education is growing at almost 20% per annum and earns around A$4.7 billion. It is becoming more acceptable to educators and students, though face-to-face education is still preferred by many. Currently most online education is delivered by existing ‘bricks and mortar’ providers. Key opportunities The Australian education sector is well-developed and caters for most student requirements, but government sponsored reports have indicated problems in some areas, resulting in the increased focus on the area and significant government spending in recent years. There is an opportunity for sophisticated and innovative goods and services from the UK. Areas of interest include: ξ Preschools, which are expected to experience the fastest growth of all areas. The Federal Government allocated A$500 million to achieve universal access. The aim is that by 2013 all 4-year olds will have access to preschool education for 15 hours a week for 40 weeks in the year before starting primary school. The Government has also introduced the Early Years Workforce Strategy between 2012 and 2016 to increase the number of skilled and professional early childhood educators. ξ Government programs for schools include: ξ ξ The Digital Education Revolution, with a budget of A$2.1 billion, to support the integration of new technology in schools. ξ Smarter Schools National Partnerships, with collaboration between state and Federal governments to improve teacher quality, with a budget of A$550 million. ξ The Trade Training Centres Program, with a budget of A$2.5 billion for 10 years from 2008, to build infrastructure to “develop vital skills and talents”. ξ There is a move towards a more demand-driven system in higher education and the Government aims to produce an additional 217,000 graduates by 2025. In 2009 the Federal Government pledged a budget of A$5.4 billion over four years to support higher education and research, with an estimated A$1.8 billion to be spent in 2012-13. ξ In the skills and training area the long-running Education Investment Fund aims to renew and refurbish vocational education and training institutions. There is also the recently announced National Workforce Development Fund, with a budget of $700 million over five years to support training and workforce development “in areas of current and future skills need”. Online education will continue to grow and will be boosted by the National Broadband Network (NBN) being introduced into Australia, which will increase the number of internet connections and boost the speed of data across the country. The NBN Enabled Education and Skill Services Program, launched in May 2011, will provide A$27.2 million over four years to provide online and interactive education and training projects. Latest export opportunities in the Education and Training sector Latest export opportunities in Australia Getting into market There are strong traditional links between the UK and Australia, including in the education sector. Doing business is relatively straightforward, though it is important to be aware of the frequent policy and regulatory changes in this sector. More about doing business in Australia Contacts Richard Harper, British Consulate-General, Sydney. Tel: +61 (0)2 8247 2233 or email: Lorraine Upton, British Consulate-General, Sydney. Tel: +61 (0)2 8247 220d or email: UKTI Events UKTI runs a range of events for exporters, including seminars in the UK, trade missions to overseas markets and support for attendance at overseas trade shows. Latest events in the Education and Training sector Major Events Edutech 2013 Date: 3-5 June 2013 Website address: 2013 Early Childhood Education Conference Date: 31 May-1 June Website address: Useful Links More about OMIS and other UKTI services for exporters
Posted: 28 September 2012