Education in Australia is the responsibility of the state or territory. The local government is expected to give funding for education and regulate the schools. Federal government takes care of the financial responsibility of public universities but does not oversee their curriculum. At the start of 2012, several schools began using the Australian National Curriculum, which will soon become the mandatory curriculum guidelines for every Australian school. Education in the country works on a three-tier model that is much like education in other countries. Children attend a primary school followed by a secondary school. Once they have graduated from secondary school, they can choose to go on to a university or technical college, which is referred to as their tertiary education.
The Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA) ranks 56 different countries on their performance in reading, science and mathematics. During the 2006 ranking, Australia placed 6th in reading, 8th in science and did not even break the top 10 in mathematics, coming in 13th. By 2010, the Australian education system had improved and they rose one place in science and four in mathematics. Reading stayed the same.
Education is mandatory for any children aged 5 to 15 in Australia. Some students are required to attend school until they are 17, a law that is dependent upon the individual state or territory and the student’s date of birth. The academic year varies according to state and school in Australia, but usually runs from late January to mid-December for primary and secondary education institutions. Students in universities and technical colleges generally attend classes between late February and mid-November.