School system

The Australian education system offers primary, secondary and tertiary education. School education is similar across Australia with only minor variations between states and territories. Preschool education (kindergarten) is optional in Australia. School education (primary and secondary) is compulsory between the ages of six and sixteen (year 1 to year 9 or 10).

School education is 13 years and divided into:

  • Primary school: 7 or 8 years, starting at kindergarten/preparatory.
  • Secondary school: 3 or 4 years
  • Senior secondary school: 2 years

Tertiary education includes both higher education (including universities) and vocational education and training (VET).

International schools

There are international schools in Australia's major cities. Some of these schools follow their national school holiday timetables.


There are 43 universities in Australia offering a wide range of courses in all subjects.

Holders of the Swiss baccalaureate generally qualify for admission to an Australian university. Students with a Swiss diploma in business management, or the equivalent, can follow a 1-2 year course leading to the Higher School Certificate which will qualify them for admission to an Australian university. Places on all study programmes are restricted based on current supply and demand. The courses available are similar to those offered in Swiss universities. The academic year usually starts at the end of February.

As university admission requirements vary, it is essential to obtain detailed information in advance from the relevant school or faculty. 


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