Australia is another popular choice favored by international students who are interested in furthering their studies due to its extensive range of academic options, in addition to being one of the most flexible education systems in the world.
There are currently about 41 universities scattered across different cities around the country, with more than 170 campuses, giving students the opportunity to choose on where they would like to study. In addition to the competitiveness of each university in terms of providing various fields of education, Australian universities have also built academic partnerships to the 4 main groups of which consist of;
- The first group, is the most well-known as Group of Eight (GO8), which is a consolidation of some of the oldest universities in Australia, in which they focus primarily on research.
- The second group, known as the Australian Technology Network (ATN), has a relatively flexible educational system and offer courses beginning from the certificate level. The universities in this group have just recently been upgraded from vocational institutions.
- The third group, the Innovation Research Universities Australia (IRU Australia), are universities that were established around the same time some 40-50 years ago.
- The fourth group, is a collection of newly-established universities over the last 30 years, and are known as the New Generation Universities (NGU).
The Australian government takes the country’s education very seriously and readily welcomes international students to the country. This can be seen in the fact that one-third of Australia’s income comes from education. Due to the high competition and the desire to raise its status to be at the forefront of the global education system, each university is constantly improving itself which is a clear testament to the quality level of education in Australia that is considered as on par to the rest of the world.
Study Courses that are available in Australia
English Language Intensive Course for Overseas Students (ELICOS)
ELICOS is offered to international students from countries where English is not the primary language of communication, including Thais. It is recognized as one of the best English language courses in the world.
Before embarking on their studies, the majority of the language institutions will conduct an English Placement Test for international students in order to organize them into classes that is appropriate according to each student’s abilities. The English language courses that are generally taught consist of:
- General English
- English for Academic Purposes
- Direct Entry English Program
- English for professional purposes
- Business English
- English for High School Preparation
- English for Examination Preparation
- Study Tour / Holiday English
Primary and Secondary Education
Primary and secondary schools in Australia are classified into government and private schools, and both having boarding and day-students, as well as, exclusive boys’ or girls’ schools, or even co-education.
Primary education (Years 1-6) and secondary education (Years 7-12), are the responsibility of each state. These schools will consider accepting international students from Year 7, or compatible to Mathayom 1 in Thailand. Enrollment to elementary school are on a case-by-case basis.
International students wishing to start their studies at this level must pass an English language course, or an English language proficiency test as required by the school. There are no university entrance examinations in Australia as the selection of students for admission is based on the student’s academic performance during the last two years of secondary school, i.e. Years 11-12.
Vocational Education and Training
The core content of the curriculum focuses on hands-on practice rather than learning from textbooks. The purpose is for students to be able to put what they have learned into real-life practice upon their graduation. There are various fields of study to choose from, such as hospitality and tourism, business, computer science, design, etc., from Certificates to the Diploma level.
Foundation Studies (Pre-university)
It is a pre-study course for international students, in order to prepare them prior to attending tertiary studies. The course takes 1 year to complete and is aimed to orientate the students with basic subjects for their Bachelor’s degree studies.
Australian higher education system is said to be comparable or even superior to some European, American, and Canadian universities. Australia currently has 41 universities, 38 of which are government owned and the rest privately owned. All universities are accredited by the Office of the Civil Service Commission (OCSC) of Thailand, with varying types of degrees ranging from;
- Bachelor’s Degree
- Bachelor’s Degree with Honors
- Graduate Certificate
- Graduate Diploma
- Master’s Degree
- Doctoral Degree, Ph.D.
University Education System
The Australian education system mainly focuses on learning on how to think, ask questions, and know how to find answers on the students’ own initiatives, which differs from the Thai system that still focuses on rote learning. Thai students who desire to study in Australia must develop an understanding of this system and on how they make assessments, and adapt accordingly.
Before the commencement of course, the instructors will distribute an outline of the whole curriculum (subject outlines), stating the contents of the subject that will be taught, as well as, the list of research books, for the students to study and prepare in advance. In general, the instructors will hold a discussion on the topics that they will be teaching which are taken from an extensive range of textbooks and a variety of concepts. This makes it necessary for the students to conduct pre-research and read books recommended by the instructor prior to attending the classes.
Tutorials and Laboratory Sessions
Moreover, in some subjects, instructors may organize small groups at least once a week in addition to the lecture classes. These small groups will be led by the instructors and assisted by tutors. Students are encouraged to ask questions in order to gain a better understanding of the subject and have the opportunity to express their own opinions, and at the same time, also listen to their classmates’ opinions.
For some courses, such as science, students are also required to attend “Prac” (or Practicals) in a science lab. This is a mandatory session in which the students are not allowed to miss. The session is staffed with Laboratory Technicians to help guide the students in the use of various equipment and supported by instructors (or demonstrators) to supervise the experiments.
At the heart of any university education is the library, where students can conduct their researches which will then be used in the classroom. Learning on how to correctly use a library is essential for students as most of them will be spending at least 24 hours a week, or about 3-4 hours a day.
Generally, there are several types of assessment methods, these include,
They include quizzes, which may be given at any time depending on the instructor, while mid-term and final exams are conducted at a pre-determined time. Some exams allow students to bring along their textbooks for their exams, known as an open book exam, while some subjects require the students to take their exams home, or known as a take home exam, and submit them back on a specific date.
Homework or Assignments
Homework, or assignments, is also an integral part of the assessment process, where students can also accumulate their grades to their final exam scores.
Writing up a report is considered as an exercise in cognitive thinking skills. It helps train students on how to distinguish between the various issues, as well as, to analyze the issues in a logical and rational way It is, therefore, an important reflection of an individual’s thought process and is widely used in evaluating the students’ academic ability. This assessment method is widely used among instructors where they would rate the reports that they have assigned.
Tutorial Participation and Experiments
For some subjects, students are required to participate in group activities or present their work on behalf of a group. This gives the students a perfect opportunity to exchange ideas with their international friends.
Levels of Assessments
There are five assessment levels to evaluate academic performance in Australia: High Distinction, Distinction, Credit, Pass, and Fail.
Estimated cost of each course
The total expenses and tuition fees of various courses in Australia will vary depending on the city that the student will be living in and the institution that they will be enrolled in. These expenses can be summarized briefly as follows:
|Courses||Annual Expenses||Annual Tuition Fees|
|High school||AUD$ 12,000 – 24,000||AUD$ 6,000 – 30,000|
|Vocational studies||AUD$ 12,000 – 24,000||AUD$ 5,000 – 20,000|
|Bachelor’s degree||AUD$ 12,000 – 24,000||AUD$ 14,000 – 35,000|
|Master’s degree||AUD$ 12,000 – 24,000||AUD$ 15,000 – 36,000|
|Doctoral degree||AUD$ 12,000 – 24,000||AUD$ 15,000 – 36,000|
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