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1301.0 - Year Book Australia, 2003  
Previous ISSUE Released at 11:30 AM (CANBERRA TIME) 24/01/2003   
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Contents >> Education and Training >> Educational attainment

Formal educational qualifications are the desired outcome of most study at educational institutions. When issued by an accredited authority they denote a particular level of knowledge, skills and perhaps competencies. This assists the graduates themselves when entering the labour market, employers in selecting appropriate personnel, and clients in assessing the quality of professional services. The classification of educational attainment to level assists in measuring the stocks of available skills in a community, enabling policy makers to monitor the volume of skill levels compared to skill shortages, and to influence the direction of future educational focus.

In May 2001, of the 12.8 million persons aged 15-64, 6.0 million people (47%) had at least one non-school qualification. These comprised 2.2 million whose level of highest non-school qualification was a bachelor degree or higher, 854,600 whose highest was an advanced diploma or diploma, 1.8 million whose highest was a certificate III or IV, 873,600 whose highest was a certificate I or II and 192,100 whose highest was a certificate not further defined (table 10.51).


10.51 LEVEL OF HIGHEST NON-SCHOOL QUALIFICATION, Persons aged 15-64 - May 2001

Highest year of school completed

Year 12
Year 11
Year 10
Year 9 or below
Total(a)
'000
'000
'000
'000
'000

Postgraduate degree
268.5
7.7
6.8
**0.8
283.9
Graduate diploma / Graduate certificate
262.8
15.9
18.1
*3.6
300.3
Bachelor degree
1,463.7
46.6
75.0
10.2
1,595.5
Advanced diploma / Diploma
588.9
89.4
145.7
30.6
854.6
Certificate III / IV
508.1
283.4
789.7
217.3
1,798.6
Certificate I / II
306.7
127.7
339.1
100.1
873.6
Certificate not further defined
89.6
34.1
54.6
13.4
192.1
Level not determined
62.4
18.0
48.8
13.6
142.7
Without a non-school qualification
2,113.5
938.8
2,158.1
1,489.3
6,747.1
Total
5,664.1
1,561.6
3,636.0
1,878.9
12,788.3

(a) Includes persons who never attended school. Boarding school pupils at May 2001 have not been allocated a highest year of school completed but are included in the total.

Source: Education and Work, Australia, May 2001 (6227.0).


Graph 10.52 shows the proportion of males and females aged 15-64 and their level of highest non-school qualification at May 1991, 1996 and 2001. During this period the proportion of persons with a bachelor degree or higher has increased by 5.7 percentage points for males and by 9.7 percentage points for females. In 1991 there was a greater percentage of males (11%) with a bachelor degree or higher than females (7.3%), but by 2001 this pattern had been reversed, with 17% of females having a bachelor degree or higher compared to 16% of males.

Graph - 10.52 Level of highest non-school qualification, Persons aged 15-64



By combining information about individuals' highest year of school completed and their level of highest non-school qualification it is possible to look at the population's overall level of highest educational attainment.

In the 25-44 age group there were approximately 1.3 million persons (22% of all 24-44 year olds) with a level of highest educational attainment of bachelor degree or above (table 10.53). This compares with 729,500 (17%) in the 45-64 age group. In the 25-44 age group 967,100 persons (17%) had a level of highest educational attainment of certificate III or IV, compared to 644,100 persons (15%) in the age group 45-64.

Just under 41% of 45-64 year olds reported their level of highest educational attainment as Year 10 or below, compared to only 25% of 25-44 year olds.


10.53 LEVEL OF HIGHEST EDUCATIONAL ATTAINMENT - May 2001

Age group (years)

15-19
20-24
25-44
45-64
Total
’000
'000
’000
’000
’000

Postgraduate degree
-
*4.7
148.7
130.5
283.9
Graduate diploma / Graduate certificate
**0.2
5.8
163.2
131.1
300.3
Bachelor degree
**0.8
180.0
946.8
467.9
1,595.5
Advanced diploma / Diploma
*5.1
87.3
446.1
316.1
854.6
Certificate III / IV
22.8
164.6
967.1
644.1
1,798.6
Certificate I / II
*3.4
6.7
42.5
69.2
121.8
Certificate not further defined
*1.3
**0.6
6.4
*5.5
13.7
Year 12
384.7
594.8
1,064.1
478.1
2,521.7
Year 11
277.7
101.4
471.8
246.2
1,097.1
Year 10 or below
630.8
197.8
1,413.1
1,769.4
4,011.1
Level not determined
4.8
9.3
73.5
55.1
142.7
Total(a)
1,350.7
1,353.1
5,751.7
4,332.9
12,788.3

(a) Includes boarding school pupils and persons who never attended school and have no educational qualifications.

Source: Education and Work, Australia, May 2001 (6227.0).


The most common main field of study (for highest educational attainment) was mixed field programmes with 7.7 million persons (60% of the 15-64 year old population) (table 10.54). This group for the most part comprises persons whose highest educational attainment was Year 12 or below.

Engineering and related technologies made up the next largest main field of study of highest educational attainment, with 1.2 million persons (9.2% of the population aged 15-64). This was followed by Management and commerce with 860,200 persons (6.7%), Society and culture with 653,100 persons (5.1%) and Health with 570,300 persons (4.5%) (table 10.54).


10.54 MAIN FIELD OF HIGHEST EDUCATIONAL ATTAINMENT - May 2001

Age group (years)
15-19
20-24
25-44
45-64
Total
’000
’000
’000
’000
’000

Natural and physical sciences
-
23.4
114.5
72.5
210.4
Information technology
*3.1
23.3
96.7
21.1
144.2
Engineering and related technologies
5.8
79.0
634.5
458.3
1,177.7
Architecture and building
*1.5
26.7
209.8
152.0
390.0
Agriculture, environment and related studies
*2.2
17.5
68.5
35.8
124.1
Health
*1.1
34.8
312.8
221.6
570.3
Education
**0.7
28.2
208.8
202.3
440.0
Management and commerce
9.2
91.6
479.9
279.5
860.2
Society and culture
*3.9
63.9
367.4
217.9
653.1
Creative arts
3.0
26.5
117.7
62.4
209.6
Food, hospitality and personal services
7.2
40.3
166.3
81.0
294.7
Mixed field programmes(a)
1,312.3
894.1
2,950.0
2,494.6
7,651.0
Field not determined
**0.6
*3.1
16.5
14.2
34.3
Total(b)
1,350.7
1,353.1
5,751.7
4,332.9
12,788.3

(a) Includes persons whose highest level of educational attainment was Year 12 or below.
(b) Includes persons who never attended school and have no educational qualifications.

Source: Education and Work, Australia, May 2001 (6227.0).


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