1301.0 - Year Book Australia, 2008
ARCHIVED ISSUE Released at 11:30 AM (CANBERRA TIME) 07/02/2008
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Educational activity can occur within a variety of learning environments, some more formal than others. Typically, formal learning occurs within the distinct sectors of preschool, school, vocational education and training, and higher education. Structured learning within formal institutions is characterised by delivery that is systemic, planned and organised ahead of time, and which usually involves some evaluation of achievement. Many other kinds of structured learning can take place outside formal institutions and can continue after a person has completed schooling or gained trade or higher qualifications. For instance, structured learning might be undertaken as a short teacher-based course in the workplace in order to acquire, develop or upgrade work-related skills.
Non-formal education is delivered in an unstructured way, and on an ad hoc basis. It does not necessarily involve any student-teacher relationship or evaluation of achievement. Non-formal education includes on-the-job training and self-directed learning.
There were four million students and staff in the 14,500 preschools, primary and secondary schools, in Australia at August 2006. The education industry contributed 4.2% of Australia's gross domestic product in 2005-06, and 7.2% of employed persons in May 2006.
Core measures of educational activity in Australia currently focus on participation (the process of education), attainment (the outputs, such as national testing, qualifications and non-award courses) and educational resources (the inputs, such as funding and human resources). The structure of this chapter reflects these core measures. After a brief discussion of government responsibilities in education, the chapter describes participation in each sector of education, from preschool through to higher education. It then examines educational participation and attainment, and concludes with information on sources of educational funding.
The chapter contains two articles - Australian School-based Apprenticeships and Higher Education Loan Programme.