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1370.0 - Measures of Australia's Progress, 2013  
Latest ISSUE Released at 11:30 AM (CANBERRA TIME) 14/11/2013   
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Measures of Australia's Progress

Learning and knowledge

Australians aspire to a society that values and enables learning
Graph Image for Persons aged 25-64 years with a vocational or higher education qualification - Headline

Footnote(s): (a) Includes level not determined.;(a) Data based on level of highest non-school qualification. (b) People with a higher education qualification may also have a vocational qualification. (c) Includes, Doctoral degree, Master degree, Graduate diploma, Graduate certificate and Bachelor degree. (d) Includes, Advanced diploma, Diploma and Certificates I to IV.;(a) Includes level not determined.

Source(s): ABS data on request, 2002-2011 Survey of Education and Work. ; ABS data on request, 2012 Survey of Education and Work; ABS data on request, 2012 Survey of Education and Work

Image: Tick - Progress

Learning and knowledge in Australia has progressed over the last decade

    Indicator: Proportion of people aged 25-64 years with a vocational or higher education qualification

    Why is this theme important?

    Australians told us that learning, gaining knowledge and developing skills are important throughout people's lives. Children's development from infancy through schooling and into higher education and training is considered to be important to both individuals wellbeing, and to society overall. Society benefits from the increase in people's knowledge and abilities through increased productivity, innovation and cultural identity. Basic life skills, such as literacy and numeracy, are also vital to wellbeing and to full participation in society. People also felt it is important for society to support ongoing learning, whether for research, re-training or for personal development, and to support the creation of knowledge through scientific inquiry. Inter-generational learning or the knowledge that is passed down from one generation to another provides crucial links across generations and helps contribute to the cultural fabric and strength of Australian society.

    How have we decided there has been progress?

    We have decided that learning and knowledge in Australia has progressed since 2002 because the proportion of people aged 25-64 years with a vocational or higher education qualification (our headline progress indicator for learning and knowledge) has increased.

    Between 2002 and 2012, the proportion of people aged 25-64 years with a vocational or higher education qualification rose from 54% (5.5 million) to 67% (7.8 million).

    This increase was largely driven by the rise in the proportion of people with a higher education qualification (i.e. a bachelor degree or above), rising from 20% in 2002 to 30% in 2012. The proportion of people with a vocational qualification as their highest qualification increased at a much slower pace, rising from 33% in 2002 to 35% in 2012.

    Why this headline progress indicator?

    Vocational and higher education is an important part of the aspiration for learning and knowledge.

    The proportion of people aged 25-64 years with a vocational or higher education qualification is considered a good measure of progress for learning and knowledge because it reflects the affect of learning and knowledge on individuals and society. Vocational and higher education helps people to develop knowledge and skills that may be used to enhance their own wellbeing and that of the broader community. For an individual, education is widely regarded as a key factor in developing a rewarding career. For the nation, a skilled workforce supports ongoing economic development and improves living conditions.

    Quality assessment (see key)

    Image: Icon for 'Partial measure' This indicator is a partial measure of the concepts of learning and knowledge as described above (based on Aspirations for our Nation).

    Image: Icon for 'High quality' The data source is of high quality.

    Let's break it down!

    The proportion of women aged 25-64 years with a vocational or higher education qualification increased significantly more than men aged 25-64 years with a vocational or higher education qualification, with the proportion of women increasing from 50% (2.5 million) in 2002 to 65% (3.8 million) in 2012. Whereas, the proportion of men aged 25-64 years with a vocational or higher education qualification increased from 59% (3 million) in 2002 to 68% (4 million) in 2012.

    Use the drop down menu on the graph to look at other breakdowns of the indicator (graphs are also available on the further info page).

    But that is not the whole story...

    There is more to learning and knowledge than the proportion of people aged 25-64 years with a vocational or higher education qualification. Look through the other tabs on this page to see if the other elements of learning and knowledge have progressed.

    Check out our further info page for useful links, a glossary and references relating to this chapter.
A data gap currently exists for early learning


In MAP there are several types of data gaps where:
1. the concept is not yet developed enough to measure;
2. the concept is important for progress but may not lend itself to meaningful measurement;
3. there is no data of sufficient quality to inform on progress; or
4. there is only one data point, so a progress assessment cannot be made.

We propose to use the number of 4 and 5 year olds enrolled in a full-time preschool program in the year before schooling as a progress indicator for early learning in the future, when sufficient data becomes available for us to assess whether progress has been made.

But that is not the whole story...

There is more to learning and knowledge than early learning. Look through the other tabs on this page to see if the other elements of learning and knowledge have progressed.

Check out our further info page for useful links, a glossary and references relating to this chapter.

Graph Image for Attainment rate of Year 12 or Certificate III for people aged 20-24 years
Schooling in Australia has progressed over the last decade


Indicator: Attainment rate of Year 12 or Certificate III qualification for people aged 20-24 years

Why is this element important?

Schooling is a significant part of formal education and together with early learning and vocational and higher education, contributes to individual and societal wellbeing.

Go to the overall progress tab and further info page for more information about learning and knowledge.

How have we decided there has been progress?

We have decided that schooling in Australia has progressed since 2002 because the attainment rate of Year 12 or Certificate III qualification for people aged 20-24 years (our progress indicator for schooling) has increased.

Between 2002 and 2012, the proportion of people aged 20-24 years with a Year 12 or Certificate III rose from 78% (1.1 million) to 85% (1.4 million).

Why this progress indicator?

The completion of Year 12 or equivalent qualification is an important part of the aspiration of learning and knowledge.

The attainment rate of Year 12 or Certificate III qualification for people aged 20-24 years is considered a good measure of progress for schooling because schooling provides a foundation level of education for entry into higher education or more skilled professions. Some people may not attain Year 12 at school but will subsequently obtain an equivalent level of education.

Quality assessment (see key)

Image: Icon for 'Direct measure' This indicator is a direct measure of schooling

Image: Icon for 'High quality' The data source is of high quality

Let's break it down!

Between 2002 and 2012, the proportion of people aged 20-24 years with a Year 12 or Certificate III qualification increased across both sexes, from 77% (536,300) to 83% (692,200) for men, and 80% (541,800) to 86% (693,200) for women.

All states and territories saw increases in the proportion of people aged 20-24 years with Year 12 or a Certificate III qualification, except in the Australian Capital Territory and the Northern Territory.

Use the drop down menu on the graph to look at other breakdowns of the indicator (graphs are also available on the further info page).

But that is not the whole story...

There is more to learning and knowledge than schooling. Look through the other tabs on this page to see if the other elements of learning and knowledge have progressed.

Check out our further info page for useful links, a glossary and references relating to this chapter.

Graph Image for Persons aged 25-64 years with a vocational or higher education qualification - Element

Footnote(s): (a) Includes level not determined.;(a) Data based on level of highest non-school qualification. (b) People with a higher education qualification may also have a vocational qualification. (c) Includes, Doctoral degree, Master degree, Graduate diploma, Graduate certificate and Bachelor degree. (d) Includes, Advanced diploma, Diploma and Certificates I to IV.;(a) Includes level not determined.

Source(s): ABS data on request, 2002-2011 Survey of Education and Work. ; ABS data on request, 2012 Survey of Education and Work; ABS data on request, 2012 Survey of Education and Work

Further education in Australia has progressed over the last decade


Indicator: Proportion of people aged 25-64 years with a vocational or higher education qualification

Why is this element important?

Further education is a significant part of the formal education pathway and together with early learning and schooling, contributes to individual and societal wellbeing.

Go to the overall progress tab and further info page for more information about learning and knowledge.

How have we decided there has been progress?

We have decided that further education in Australia has progressed since 2002 because the proportion of people aged 25-64 years with a vocational or higher education qualification (our progress indicator for further education) has increased.

Between 2002 and 2012, the proportion of people aged 25-64 years with a vocational or higher education qualification rose from 54% (5.5 million) to 67% (7.8 million).

This increase was largely driven by the rise in the proportion of people with a higher education qualification (i.e. a bachelor degree or above), rising from 20% in 2002 to 30% in 2012. The proportion of people with a vocational qualification as their highest qualification increased at a much slower pace, rising from 33% in 2002 to 35% in 2012.

Why this progress indicator?

Further education is an important part of the aspiration for learning and knowledge.

The proportion of people aged 25-64 years with a vocational or higher education qualification is considered a good measure of progress for further education because an increase in the attainment of this level of education is linked to better outcomes for individuals and society.

Quality assessment (see key)

Image: Icon for 'Direct measure' This indicator is a direct measure of further education.

Image: Icon for 'High quality' The data source is of high quality.

Let's break it down!

The proportion of women aged 25-64 years with a vocational or higher education qualification increased significantly more than men aged 25-64 years with a vocational or higher education qualification, with the proportion of women increasing from 50% (2.5 million) in 2002 to 65% (3.8 million) in 2012. Whereas, the proportion of men aged 25-64 years with a vocational or higher education qualification increased from 59% (3 million) in 2002 to 68% (4 million) in 2012.

Use the drop down menu on the graph to look at other breakdowns of the indicator (graphs are also available on the further info page).

But that is not the whole story...

There is more to learning and knowledge than further education. Look through the other tabs on this page to see if the other elements of learning and knowledge have progressed.

Check out our further info page for useful links, a glossary and references relating to this chapter.

A data gap currently exists for lifelong learning


In MAP there are several types of data gaps where:
1. the concept is not yet developed enough to measure;
2. the concept is important for progress but may not lend itself to meaningful measurement;
3. there is no data of sufficient quality to inform on progress; or
4. there is only one data point, so a progress assessment cannot be made.

We propose to use participation rates in formal and non-formal learning as a progress indicator for the lifelong learning element in the future, when sufficient data becomes available for us to assess whether progress has been made.

But that is not the whole story...

There is more to learning and knowledge than lifelong learning. Look through the other tabs on this page to see if the other elements of learning and knowledge have progressed.

Check out our further info page for useful links, a glossary and references relating to this chapter.


A data gap currently exists for life skills

In MAP there are several types of data gaps where:
1. the concept is not yet developed enough to measure;
2. the concept is important for progress but may not lend itself to meaningful measurement;
3. there is no data of sufficient quality to inform on progress or
4. there is only one data point, so a progress assessment cannot be made.

We propose to use literacy and numeracy rates for people aged 15-74 years as a progress indicator for the life skills element in the future, when sufficient data becomes available for us to assess whether progress has been made.

But that is not the whole story...

There is more to learning and knowledge than life skills. Look through the other tabs on this page to see if the other elements of learning and knowledge have progressed.

Check out our further info page for useful links, a glossary and references relating to this chapter.

Graph Image for Expenditure on Research and Development for higher education organisations
Research in Australia has progressed since 1992

Indicator: Expenditure on research and development for higher education organisations

Why is this element important?

It is important for society to support ongoing learning, whether for research, re-training or for personal development, and to support the creation of knowledge through research. Progress in the area of research, knowledge and innovation contributes in a critical way to the economic, social and environmental progress of a society.

Go to the overall progress tab and further info page for more information about learning and knowledge.

How have we decided there has been progress?

We have decided research in Australia has progressed since 1992 because the amount of expenditure on research and development for higher education organisations (our progress indicator for research) has increased across all fields of research.

Between 1992 and 2010, the amount of expenditure on research and development for higher education organisations increased across all fields of research by 80% from $1.7 billion to $8.2 billion.

Why this progress indicator?

Research and development is seen as an important part of the aspiration for learning and knowledge.

The amount of expenditure on research and development for higher education organisations is a good measure of progress for research because increased activity in this area of research and development reflects positive outcomes of research.

Quality assessment (see key)

Image: Icon for 'Partial measure' This indicator is a partial measure of research.

Image: Icon for 'High quality' The data source is of high quality.

Let's break it down!

Between 1992 and 2010, the amount of expenditure on research and development for higher education organisations increased across all fields of research.

Expenditure devoted to Medical and health sciences, Engineering, Biological sciences and Studies in human society, made up just over half of total higher education research and development expenditure in 2008 and 2010 (54% and 53% respectively).

Use the drop down menu on the graph to look at other breakdowns of the indicator (graphs are also available on the further info page).

But that is not the whole story...

There is more to learning and knowledge than research and development. Look through the other tabs on this page to see if the other elements of learning and knowledge have progressed.

Check out our further info page for useful links, a glossary and references relating to this chapter.
A data gap currently exists for inter-generational learning


In MAP there are several types of data gaps where:
1. the concept is not yet developed enough to measure;
2. the concept is important for progress but may not lend itself to meaningful measurement;
3. there is no data of sufficient quality to inform on progress; or
4. there is only one data point, so a progress assessment cannot be made.

A range of possible indicators are being considered for inter-generational learning, such as 'reading to children'. In order to capture the spirit of this idea in a measure, further development will need to be undertaken. We will continue to explore options for a suitable indicator in the future.

But that is not the whole story...

There is more to learning and knowledge than inter-generational learning. Look through the other tabs on this page to see if the other elements of learning and knowledge have progressed.

Check out our further info page for useful links, a glossary and references relating to this chapter.



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