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1301.0 - Year Book Australia, 2012  
Latest ISSUE Released at 11:30 AM (CANBERRA TIME) 24/05/2012   
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Education and training

HIGHER EDUCATION

Australia’s higher education system plays a vital role in the nation’s intellectual, economic, cultural and social development. In addition to their contribution to advanced research in a number of fields, higher education institutions also impart high level skills and knowledge. Tertiary qualifications are an explicit requirement for the lawful practice of a number of professions, such as law and medicine, and are often essential prerequisites for many others.

Providers of higher education that receive funding from the Australian Government can be publicly or privately operated, and can be either self-accrediting or non self-accrediting institutions. Self-accrediting institutions primarily include universities, and have the authority to award formal qualifications. Non self-accrediting higher education providers are accredited by state and territory authorities. They are mainly private providers of varying sizes, and include business colleges and other providers that offer courses in areas such as information technology, natural therapies, hospitality, health, theology, law and accounting.

Admission to higher education programs is usually through the achievement of a tertiary entrance ranking based on assessment at senior secondary school, the completion of adult entry exams or bridging courses, or recognition of appropriate prior learning or experience in professions relevant to the field of study chosen.

Higher education providers offer a range of undergraduate and post-graduate courses including traditional academic areas of learning and research, as well as more practical courses with a vocational orientation. Courses may vary in form, entry requirements, duration and method of assessment. For instance, courses can be full-time or part-time, delivered on-campus, by distance education, or a mix of these modes. In addition, some institutions offer courses which associate full-time study with periods of employment. Courses cover many disciplines such as the humanities, social sciences, education, physical and life sciences, mathematics, information technology, visual/performing arts, engineering, health sciences, commerce, economics, law and agriculture.


STUDENTS AND COURSES

In 2010, there were 1.2 million higher education students in Australia, of whom 857,000 (72%) were domestic students and 335,000 (28%) were international students. Of domestic higher education students, 61% were aged between 15 and 24 years. An even greater proportion (70%) of international students were aged 15-24 years, with over half (55%) being aged 20-24 years. There were more domestic students than international students in each age group in 2010 (graph 12.17).

Over half (58%) of domestic higher education students were female, while international students were almost evenly split between male and female.

Between 2005 and 2010, the number of students in higher education rose by approximately 25% from 957,000 to 1.2 million, with international student numbers growing at a faster rate than domestic student numbers until 2009.

Graph 12.17 HIGHER EDUCATION STUDENTS - 2010


In 2010, just under 1 million (81%) of higher education students were studying internally (on-campus), 12% were external students and the remaining 7% were in multi-modal programs (partially delivered on campus and partially through distance and/or online delivery). Of the internal students, 77% were studying full-time and 23% were studying part-time (table 12.18). A similar distribution was found among students in multi-modal programs. In contrast, the ratios were reversed among students studying externally, with 79% studying part-time and 21% studying full-time.


12.18 HIGHER EDUCATION STUDENTS, By mode of study and full or part-time load—2010
Full-time students
Part-time students
Total
'000
%
'000
%
'000
%

Internal
743.1
77.1
221.3
22.9
964.4
100.0
External
31.4
21.5
114.9
78.5
146.3
100.0
Multi-modal
63.8
77.9
18.1
22.1
81.9
100.0
All students
838.3
70.3
354.3
29.7
1 192.7
100.0

Source: DEEWR Higher Education Statistics, All Students, 2010.


Two-thirds (66%) of all higher education students in 2010 were studying at the Bachelor degree level, with most of the remainder (20%) studying at postgraduate degree level (Masters degree or Doctoral degree) and about 7% were studying at graduate diploma or graduate certificate level (table 12.19). Some fields of higher education showed a higher proportion of students studying at postgraduate degree levels, such as Information technology (29%), Agriculture, environment and related studies (28%) and Management and commerce (25%).

Particular professional requirements can shape the level at which students are pursuing study. For example, a Graduate Diploma in Education/Graduate Certificate is a common pathway into teaching at secondary school level in Australia, reflected in the comparatively high proportion (15%) of Education students studying at this level.


12.19 HIGHER EDUCATION STUDENTS, By level and field of education2010
Postgraduate degree
Graduate diploma /
Graduate certificate
Bachelor degree
Advanced diploma /
Diploma
Total(a)

Natural and physical sciences
%
17.4
2.6
79.0
0.6
100.0
Information technology
%
28.8
4.0
63.3
3.2
100.0
Engineering and related technologies
%
18.8
2.4
72.1
5.3
100.0
Architecture and building
%
22.0
3.1
73.4
1.2
100.0
Agriculture, environmental and related studies
%
28.0
5.9
63.3
2.8
100.0
Health
%
16.0
7.3
75.6
0.8
100.0
Education
%
21.4
15.5
61.2
0.5
100.0
Management and commerce
%
24.6
5.2
64.5
5.6
100.0
Society and culture
%
16.7
8.1
70.3
2.8
100.0
Creative arts
%
10.2
2.6
79.3
4.5
100.0
Total
%
20.2
6.6
66.4
3.4
100.0
Total
no.
241 380
79 075
791 577
40 844
1 192 657

(a) Total includes ‘Other’, including level not specified and non-award programs.
Source: DEEWR Higher Education Statistics, All Students, 2010.


STAFF

Higher education staff may be classified as being in either academic (engaged in teaching, including supervision of post-graduate study) or non-academic (such as student support, corporate services or governance) roles. There were 48,000 academic staff in Australian higher education institutions in 2011 and 61,000 non-academic staff (table 12.20).

While two-thirds (66%) of non-academic staff in 2011 were female, more than half (56%) of academic staff were male, though this represented a slight decrease from 59% in 2006. The majority (58%) of senior lecturers in 2011 were male, a slight decrease from 63% in 2006. Almost three-quarters (73%) of academic staff above senior lecturer in 2011 were male, down slightly from 77% in 2006.


12.20 HIGHER EDUCATION STAFF2011
Males
Females
Total
Total
%
%
%
'000

Academic classifications
56.4
43.6
100.0
48 325
    Above senior lecturer
72.7
27.3
100.0
12 574
    Senior lecturer (Level C)
57.8
42.2
100.0
11 149
    Lecturer (Level B)
48.5
51.5
100.0
16 316
    Below lecturer (Level A)
45.1
54.9
100.0
8 286
Non-academic classifications
34.4
65.6
100.0
61 199
All classifications
44.1
55.9
100.0
109 524


Source: DEEWR Selected Higher Education Statistics, Staff Numbers, 2011.

 

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Statistics contained in the Year Book are the most recent available at the time of preparation. In many cases, the ABS website and the websites of other organisations provide access to more recent data. Each Year Book table or graph and the bibliography at the end of each chapter provides hyperlinks to the most up to date data release where available.


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