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Australia
Overview of the education system (EAG 2021)
  • In Australia, men are more likely than women to pursue a vocational track. In 2019, 52% of upper secondary vocational graduates were men, compared to 55% on average across OECD countries.
  • In Australia, 62% of 25-34 year-old women had a tertiary qualification in 2020 compared to 47% of their male peers.
  • In 2018, Australia invested a total of USD 12 227 per student on primary to tertiary institutions compared to USD 10 454 on average across OECD countries. This represents 5.9% of GDP, compared to 4.9% on average across OECD countries.
  • In 2019, 83% of 3-5 year-olds were enrolled in early childhood education and care programmes and primary education in Australia, compared to 88% on average across OECD countries.
  • Statutory salaries of teachers with maximum qualifications at the top of their salary scales are 47% to 56% higher than those of teachers with the minimum qualifications at the start of their career at pre-primary (ISCED 02), primary and general lower and upper secondary levels in Australia compared to 86% - 91% on average.
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    The following list displays indicators for which your selected country shows the highest and lowest values among countries. The list can be sorted by level of education or by age group. All rankings are calculated including available data from OECD and partner countries. Find out more about the methodology here.

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    Attainment by gender

    Australia has one of the smallest share of women among 55-64 year-olds with a vocational upper secondary or post-secondary non-tertiary education. (35.4 %, rank 31/34 , 2020) Download Indicator

    Participation in education

    The enrolment rate of 20-24 year-olds in Australia is one of the highest among OECD and partner countries with available data. (55.4 %, rank 2/42 , 2019) Download Indicator

    The enrolment rate of 40-64 year-olds in Australia is one of the highest among OECD and partner countries with available data. (6.8 %, rank 1/41 , 2019) Download Indicator

    Graduation expectancy

    In Australia, the percentage of today's young people expected to graduate from a doctoral or equivalent programme before the age of 35 ranks as one of the highest among OECD and partner countries with available data. (1.4 %, rank 5/29 , 2019) Download Indicator

    Australia has one of the highest percentages of young people expected to obtain a bachelor's or an equivalent degree before the age of 30. (50.7 %, rank 1/31 , 2019) Download Indicator

    The percentage of today's young people expected to obtain a master's or an equivalent degree before the age of 35 is one of the highest among OECD countries and partner economies with available data. (23.6 %, rank 4/29 , 2019) Download Indicator

    Excluding mobile students, Australia has one of the lowest percentages of young people expected to obtain a master's or an equivalent degree before the age of 30. (5.9 %, rank 25/27 , 2019) Download Indicator

    Graduation

    The percentage of first-time master's graduates is relatively high in Australia. (25.5 %, rank 2/23 , 2019) Download Indicator

    In Australia, the share of first-time graduates in vocational programmes at post-secondary non-tertiary level is comparatively important . (100 %, rank 1/24 , 2019) Download Indicator

    Graduation by gender

    In Australia, the share of female tertiary graduates in the field of social sciences, journalism and information is one of the lowest among OECD and partner countries with available data. (6.5 %, rank 39/43 , 2019) Download Indicator

    In Australia, the proportion of male tertiary graduates in the field of social sciences, journalism and information is relatively small. (4.2 %, rank 41/43 , 2019) Download Indicator

    In Australia, the share of male tertiary graduates in the field of business, administration and law is one of the largest among OECD and partner countries with available data. (40.6 %, rank 2/43 , 2019) Download Indicator

    In Australia, the percentage of female post-secondary non-tertiary graduates in the field of health and welfare is relatively small. (71.6 %, rank 20/22 , 2019) Download Indicator

    Graduation by age

    In Australia, the average age of post-secondary non-tertiary graduates from vocational programmes is one of the highest among OECD and partner countries with available data (34.9 Years, rank 5/23 , 2019) Download Indicator

    The average age of upper secondary graduates from vocational programmes in Australia is one of the highest among OECD and partner countries with available data (31.6 Years, rank 3/37 , 2019) Download Indicator

    Graduation by field of education

    The percentage of tertiary graduates in the field of social sciences, journalism and information is one of the lowest among OECD and partner countries with available data. (5.5 %, rank 40/44 , 2019) Download Indicator

    The percentage of tertiary graduates in the field of business, administration and law is one of the highest among OECD and partner countries with available data. (36.4 %, rank 3/44 , 2019) Download Indicator

    In Australia, the proportion of upper secondary vocational graduates in the field of health and welfare is one of the highest among OECD and partner countries with available data. (22.5 %, rank 5/34 , 2019) Download Indicator

    In Australia, the percentage of tertiary graduates in the field of agriculture, forestry, fisheries and veterinary is relatively low. (0.7 %, rank 42/44 , 2019) Download Indicator

    Fields of education

    In Australia, the percentage of new entrants to tertiary education in the field of social sciences, journalism and information is relatively low. (6.2 %, rank 34/37 , 2019) Download Indicator

    In Australia, the percentage of new entrants to tertiary education in the field of engineering, manufacturing and construction is relatively low. (8.6 %, rank 37/37 , 2019) Download Indicator

    The percentage of students enrolled in the field of engineering, manunfacturing and construction among all national tertiary students in Australia is relatively low. (8.2 %, rank 33/34 , 2019) Download Indicator

    In Australia, the share of male among new entrants in doctoral programmes enrolled in the field of information and communication technologies is relatively small. (66 %, rank 28/32 , 2019) Download Indicator

    In Australia, the share of new entrants to tertiary education in the field of services is comparatively small. (1.6 %, rank 33/37 , 2019) Download Indicator

    The proportion of new entrants to tertiary education in the field of agriculture, forestry, fisheries and veterinary is one of the smallest among OECD and partner countries with available data. (0.8 %, rank 35/37 , 2019) Download Indicator

    Student mobility

    Australia has one of the largest proportion of international or foreign students enrolled in tertiary education among OECD and partner countries with available data. (28.4 %, rank 2/44 , 2019) Download Indicator

    In Australia, the proportion of young men who are neither employed nor in education or training among 15-19 year-olds is comparatively large. (8.4 %, rank 2/81 , 2019) Download Indicator

    In Australia, the number of international or foreign students per national student abroad is one of the highest among OECD and partner countries with available data. (39 Students, rank 1/44 , 2019) Download Indicator

    In Australia, international or foreign students from Oceania are most represented among all international or foreign students, compared to other OECD and partner countries with available data. (0.8 %, rank 3/75 , 2019) Download Indicator

    In Australia, the proportion of international graduates among bachelor's first-time graduates is relatively high. (29.3 %, rank 1/29 , 2019) Download Indicator

    In Australia, the proportion of international graduates among first-time doctorate graduates is relatively high. (40.9 %, rank 5/28 , 2019) Download Indicator

    Student mobility by field of education

    The percentage of students enrolled in the field of arts and humanities among all international or foreign tertiary students in Australia is relatively low. (6.1 %, rank 31/33 , 2019) Download Indicator

    The percentage of students enrolled in the field of social sciences, journalism and information among all international or foreign tertiary students in Australia is relatively low. (2.5 %, rank 33/33 , 2019) Download Indicator

    The percentage of students enrolled in the field of business, administration and law among all international or foreign tertiary students in Australia is relatively high. (47.2 %, rank 1/33 , 2019) Download Indicator

    In Australia, the percentage of international doctoral graduates in the field of arts and humanities is one of the lowest among OECD and partner countries with available data. (5.2 %, rank 32/34 , 2019) Download Indicator

    Adult participation in non-formal education

    In Australia, the proportion of adults employed in enterprises of over 249 persons and participating in non-formal education and training is high compared to other OECD and partner countries. (81 %, rank 4/35 , 2016) Download Indicator

    In Australia, the proportion of adults employed in the public sector and participating in non-formal education and training is high compared to other OECD and partner countries. (82.4 %, rank 5/36 , 2016) Download Indicator

    The percentage of employed adults participating in job-related non-formal education and training sponsored by the employer is relatively high. (56.6 %, rank 5/36 , 2016) Download Indicator

    In Australia, the proportion of adults employed in enterprises of over of 249 persons and participating in job-related non-formal education and training sponsored by the employer is high compared to other OECD and partner countries. (72.1 %, rank 3/34 , 2016) Download Indicator

    The percentage of employed adults participating in job-related non-formal education and training not sponsored by the employer is relatively low. (3.4 %, rank 32/36 , 2016) Download Indicator

    The percentage adults employed in enterprises of over 249 persons and participating in job-related non-formal education and training not sponsored by the employer is relatively low. (2.7 %, rank 23/27 , 2016) Download Indicator

    In Australia, the proportion of adults employed in the public sector and participating in job-related non-formal education and training not sponsored by the employer is low compared to other OECD and partner countries. (4.1 %, rank 32/36 , 2016) Download Indicator

    In Australia, the proportion of employed adults participating in non-job-related non-formal education and training sponsored by the employer is relatively low. (0.7 %, rank 31/33 , 2016) Download Indicator

    In Australia, the proportion of adults employed in the private sector and participating in non-job-related non-formal education and training sponsored by the employer is relatively low. (0.7 %, rank 27/30 , 2016) Download Indicator

    In Australia, the proportion of adults employed in the public sector and participating in non-job-related non-formal education and training sponsored by the employer is relatively low. (0.9 %, rank 21/22 , 2016) Download Indicator

    Expenditure per student

    Expenditure per student for ancillary services on primary, secondary and post-secondary non-tertiary education in Australia is comparatively low. (155 USD Equivalent, rank 23/26 , 2018) Download Indicator

    Expenditure in education and national wealth

    In Australia, private expenditure on educational institutions as a percentage of GDP on primary to tertiary education from final source of funds is relatively high. (2 %, rank 3/37 , 2018) Download Indicator

    In Australia, the private expenditure as a percentage of GDP from initial source of funds on primary to post-secondary non-tertiary level is high . (0.7 %, rank 3/25 , 2018) Download Indicator

    The proportion of private expenditure as a percentage of GDP from initial source of funds for primary to tertiary education is comparatively large in Australia. (1.6 %, rank 2/25 , 2018) Download Indicator

    The private expenditure as a percentage of GDP from initial source of funds on tertiary education is relatively high in Australia. (0.9 %, rank 2/26 , 2018) Download Indicator

    Public and private expenditure in education

    The share of private expenditure on all levels below tertiary education is one of the largest among OECD and partner countries with available data. (18 %, rank 5/37 , 2018) Download Indicator

    The share of private expenditure on tertiary education is one of the largest among OECD and partner countries with available data. (65.2 %, rank 3/37 , 2018) Download Indicator

    Australia has one of the largest shares of private expenditure on primary through tertiary educational institutions among OECD countries and partner economies with available data. (33.1 %, rank 3/37 , 2018) Download Indicator

    In Australia, the share of public expenditure on educational institutions, for primary secondary and post-secondary non-tertiary education is comparatively small. (82 %, rank 33/37 , 2018) Download Indicator

    The share of public expenditure on educational institutions, for tertiary education is comparatively small. (34.8 %, rank 35/37 , 2018) Download Indicator

    In Australia, the share of public expenditure on educational institutions, for primary to tertiary education is comparatively small. (66.9 %, rank 35/37 , 2018) Download Indicator

    In Australia, the relative share of public expenditure from initial sources of funds on primary to post-secondary non-tertiary education is one of the smallest among OECD and partner countries with available data. (83.3 %, rank 23/26 , 2018) Download Indicator

    In Australia, the relative share of private expenditure from initial sources of funds on primary to post-secondary non-tertiary education is one of the largest among OECD and partner countries with available data. (16.7 %, rank 4/26 , 2018) Download Indicator

    In Australia, the relative share of public expenditure from initial source of funds at primary to tertiary education is relatively low. (73.7 %, rank 22/25 , 2018) Download Indicator

    In Australia, the relative share of private expenditure from initial source of funds for primary to tertiary education is relatively large. (26.3 %, rank 3/25 , 2018) Download Indicator

    In Australia, the relative share of public expenditure from initial source of funds on tertiary education is one of the smallest among OECD and partner countries with available data. (53.4 %, rank 23/26 , 2018) Download Indicator

    In Australia, the relative share of private expenditure from initial source of funds on tertiary education is comparatively large. (46.6 %, rank 2/26 , 2018) Download Indicator

    Nature of expenditure

    The share of capital expenditure for primary to tertiary education in Australia is one of the highest among OECD and partner countries with available data. (13.1 %, rank 4/31 , 2018) Download Indicator

    The share of current expenditure for primary to tertiary education in Australia is one of the lowest among OECD and partner countries with available data. (86.9 %, rank 27/31 , 2018) Download Indicator

    The percentage of capital expenditure on secondary education is relatively in Australia. (11.5 %, rank 5/34 , 2018) Download Indicator

    Teachers

    The number of days of instruction in a school year in lower secondary school is especially high. (200 Days, rank 3/30 , 2020) Download Indicator

    The number of hours per year pre-primary teachers spend teaching in public institutions is comparatively low in Australia. (758 Hours, rank 23/25 , 2020) Download Indicator

    Teachers' salaries

    The ratio of pre-primary teachers' salaries to earnings of full-time, full-year workers with tertiary education is one of the highest among OECD and partner countries with available data. (0.95 Ratio, rank 5/21 , 2020) Download Indicator

    The salaries of 55-64 year-old general lower-secondary teachers relative to earnings for full-time, full-year similarly educated workers with tertiary education is high in Australia. (0.91 Ratio, rank 5/21 , 2020) Download Indicator

    The average actual salaries of 25-34 year-old lower-secondary teachers is one of the highest in Australia relatively compared to OECD and partner countries with available data. (55593 USD Equivalent, rank 3/23 , 2020) Download Indicator

    Teachers' salaries progression

    Salaries of lower secondary teachers with minimum training after 10 years of experience are especially high. (62021 USD Equivalent, rank 5/34 , 2020) Download Indicator

    It takes lower secondary teachers less time to progress through the salary scale in Australia compared to other OECD and partner countries. (8 Years, rank 26/27 , 2020) Download Indicator

    Principals' salaries

    Lower-secondary school heads' salaries relative to earnings for full-time, full-year similarly educated workers with tertiary education is high in Australia. (1.68 Ratio, rank 3/22 , 2020) Download Indicator

    The average lower secondary school heads' actual salary is one of the highest among OECD and partner countries with available data. (114771 USD Equivalent, rank 1/23 , 2020) Download Indicator

    In Australia, the average actual salaries of 25-34 year-old lower-secondary school heads is relatively high compared to OECD and partner countries with available data. (93229 USD Equivalent, rank 3/17 , 2020) Download Indicator

    The average actual salaries of 55-64 year-old lower secondary school heads is one of the highest in Australia. (116468 USD Equivalent, rank 1/21 , 2020) Download Indicator

    The average actual salaries of lower secondary men school heads aged 25 to 64 is one of the highest in Australia. (115188 USD Equivalent, rank 1/21 , 2020) Download Indicator

    The average actual salaries of lower secondary women school heads aged 25 to 64 is one of the highest in Australia. (114107 USD Equivalent, rank 1/21 , 2020) Download Indicator

    Organisation of the education system

    In Australia, total compulsory instruction time for primary and lower secondary students is one of the longest among OECD and partner countries with available data. (11060 Hours, rank 1/37 , 2021) Download Indicator

    In Australia, total compulsory instruction time for lower secondary students is relatively long. (4062 Hours, rank 5/37 , 2021) Download Indicator

    Employment and educational attainment

    The employment rate among 25-64 year-olds with a master's or equivalent tertiary education degree is low compared to other OECD and partner countries. (82.1 %, rank 40/41 , 2020) Download Indicator

    The employment rate among 25-34 year-olds with a short-cycle tertiary education is comparatively low. (72.7 %, rank 29/33 , 2020) Download Indicator

    Earnings and educational attainment

    The proportional difference in earnings between 25-64 year-old adults with tertiary education and those with upper secondary or post-secondary non-tertiary education is quite low. (125 Index, rank 34/37 , 2019) Download Indicator

    Compared with other OECD and partner countries, the proportional difference in earnings between 25-64 year-old adults with a master's, doctoral or equivalent degree and those with upper secondary or post-secondary non-tertiary education is low. (140 Index, rank 31/33 , 2019) Download Indicator

    In Australia, the proportional difference in earnings between 25-64 year-old men with a short-cycle tertiary education degree and those with upper secondary or post-secondary non-tertiary education is low. (107 Index, rank 25/29 , 2019) Download Indicator

    In Australia, the proportional difference in earnings between 25-64 year-old men with a master's, doctoral or equivalent degree and those with upper secondary or post-secondary non-tertiary education is low. (140 Index, rank 32/33 , 2019) Download Indicator

    Earnings of 25-64 year-old full and part-time workers with tertiary education are comparatively low. (125 Index, rank 36/37 , 2019) Download Indicator

    Earnings of foreign-born aged between 25 and 64 who work full- and part-time with a short cycle tertiary education are comparatively low. (106 Index, rank 25/28 , 2019) Download Indicator

    Earnings of 25-64 year-old full- and part-time workers with a Master's, doctoral or equivalent education degree are comparatively low. (143 Index, rank 31/32 , 2019) Download Indicator

    Earnings, gender and educational attainment

    The earnings of women without an upper secondary education are relatively high compared to those of women with an upper secondary education. (92 Index, rank 4/37 , 2019) Download Indicator

    The difference in earnings between 25-64 year-old men with tertiary education and those with upper secondary education is quite low. (127 Index, rank 36/37 , 2019) Download Indicator

    Earnings of women as a percentage of men's earnings (among 25-64 year-olds with tertiary education and income from employment) are one of the highest among countries with available data. (81.1 %, rank 4/37 , 2019) Download Indicator

    Social outcomes

    In Australia, the proportion of adults who reported being interested in politics is high compared to other OECD and partner countries. (71.8 %, rank 4/28 , 2018) Download Indicator

    In Australia, the proportion of adults without an upper secondary education who reported being interested in politics is high compared to other OECD and partner countries. (67.1 %, rank 3/25 , 2018) Download Indicator

    In Australia, the proportion of adults with an upper secondary or post-secondary non-tertiary education who reported being interested in politics is high compared to other OECD and partner countries. (70.2 %, rank 4/28 , 2018) Download Indicator

    Entrance

    The proportion of youth (excluding international students) expected to enter bachelor's or equivalent programme before the age of 25 is comparatively high in Australia. (58.9 %, rank 4/32 , 2019) Download Indicator

    The share of young people expected to enter master's programmes before the age of 30 is one of the largest among OECD and partner countries with available data. (30.4 %, rank 5/38 , 2019) Download Indicator


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    General findings
    
                            
    • One in five adults across the OECD has not attained upper secondary education.
    • In 2020, the unemployment rate of adults that had not completed upper secondary education was almost twice as high as those with higher qualifications, and 27% of these adults earn only at or below half the median on average across OECD countries.
    • In 2019, at least 10% of school-aged youth were not in school in about a quarter of OECD countries.
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    • In 2019, women made up 55% of new entrants to tertiary education on average. If current patterns continue, it is expected that 46% of young women will graduate with a tertiary degree for the first time before they turn 30, 15 percentage points more than men.
    • Women also earn on average about 76-78% of men’s salaries regardless of educational attainment, although the gender gap narrowed by 2 percentage points between 2013 and 2019.
    • Women are less likely than men to enter a STEM field of study, and the average share remained generally stable between 2013 and 2019.
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    • On average across countries, expenditure on educational institutions amounted to approximately USD 9 300 per student at pre-primary level; USD 10 500 at primary, secondary and post-secondary non tertiary level; and USD 17 100 at tertiary level.
    • The public sector funds 90% of total expenditure on primary and secondary institutions on average, often compulsory in most OECD countries, compared to 83% at pre-primary level and 66% at tertiary level.
    • In 2018, the OECD countries spent on average 4.9% of their Gross Domestic Product (GDP) on primary to tertiary educational institutions.
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    • In 2019, less than 5% of pre-primary teachers were men, compared to 18% at primary level, 40% at upper secondary level and more than 50% at tertiary level on average.
    • Between 2005 and 2020, on average across OECD countries and economies with available data for all reference years, the statutory salaries of teachers with 15 years of experience and the most prevalent qualifications increased by 3% at primary level, 4% at lower secondary level (general programmes) and 2% at upper secondary level (general programmes).
    • In most countries, teachers above 50 years of age make up more than a third of the teaching force.
    • Attracting male teachers to the profession can be difficult: While the average actual salary of female teachers is equal to or higher than the average salary of other full-time, tertiary-educated women, primary and secondary male teachers earn between 76% and 85% of the average earnings of other full-time, tertiary-educated men.
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    • On average across OECD countries, 87% of children aged 3-5 are enrolled in education on average across OECD countries compared to 25% for children below the age of 3.
    • There are 15 children for every teacher at pre-primary level on average across OECD countries.
    • Half of children enrolled in early childhood development services and a two-thirds of pre-primary children attend public institutions on average across OECD countries
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    Key
    Diagram of funding flows - Australia

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    Key
    Country Reviews for Australia

    Note: These values should be interpreted with care since they are influenced by countries' specific contexts and trade-offs. In education, there is often no simple most- or least-efficient model. For instance, the share of private expenditure in education must be read against other measures designed to mitigate inequities, such as loans and grants; longer learning time is an opportunity to convey more and better content to students, but may hinder investments in other important areas. If you want further information on the nature of different variables, please take the time to read the analysis and contextual information, available at the website for each publication.
    All rankings for individual variables are compiled on the basis of OECD and G20 countries for which data are available. The OECD average includes only OECD countries which are listed here: http://www.oecd.org/about/membersandpartners/

    *TALIS averages are based on all countries participating in the TALIS survey, including partner countries and economies. This explains the difference between the OECD average and the TALIS averages. Data from the TALIS survey and Education at a Glance (EAG) may differ. See Annex E of the TALIS technical report and Annex 3 of EAG 2021 for more details about the data collections.

    B-S-J-Z (China) refers to the four PISA-participating provinces/municipalities of the People's Republic of China: Beijing, Shanghai, Jiangsu and Zhejiang.

    For additional notes, please refer to annexes in the list of links below the introductory country profile text.