1370.0 - Measures of Australia's Progress, 2010  
ARCHIVED ISSUE Released at 11:30 AM (CANBERRA TIME) 15/09/2010   
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Adult learning

See 'non-formal learning'.

Apparent retention rates

In this chapter apparent retention rates are calculated by dividing the number of full-time students in Year 12 by the number of full-time students in the base year and converting the figure into a percentage. In this chapter the base year is Year 7 in New South Wales, Victoria, Tasmania and the Australian Capital Territory and Year 8 in Queensland, South Australia, Western Australia and the Northern Territory. These years represent the commencement of secondary school in the respective state or territory.

Existing apparent retention rates do not take into account a range of factors, and readers are cautioned to exercise care in interpreting the measure. Students may repeat a year of education, or migrate between institutions, states/territories and in or out of Australia. An increasing number of students are considered to be part-time and there are also differing enrolment policies leading to different age/grade structures between states and territories. All these factors affect the number and composition of the student population when calculating apparent retention rates.

Education participation rate

For any group within the population, it is the number of people attending an educational institution (either full or part time) expressed as a percentage of the population in that group.

Educational institution

Any institution whose primary role is education. Included are schools, higher education establishments, colleges of technical and further education, public and private colleges, etc. Excluded are institutions whose primary role is not education.

Formal learning

Refers to learning which is structured, taught learning in institutions and organisations and leads to a recognised qualification issued by a relevant body, in recognition that a person has achieved learning outcomes or competencies relevant to identified individual, professional, industry or community needs. A learning activity is formal if it leads to a learning achievement that is possible to position within the Australian Qualifications Framework (AQF) and includes workplace training if such training results in a qualification.

Higher education qualifications

Include Postgraduate Degree, Master Degree, Graduate Diploma, Graduate Certificate and Bachelor Degree.


Refers to people who identified themselves, or were identified by another household member, as being of Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander origin.

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander to non-Indigenous attainment ratio

The ratio of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander to non-Indigenous attainment of a vocational or higher education qualification is calculated by dividing the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander rate of attainment by the non-Indigenous rate of attainment. A ratio of less than one implies Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander disadvantage.

Informal learning

Refers to unstructured, non-institutionalised learning activities that are related to work, family, community or leisure. Activities may occur on a self-directed basis, but are excluded from scope if there is no specific intention to learn.

Non-formal learning

Non-formal learning (adult learning) refers to structured, taught learning, but differs from formal learning in that it does not lead to a qualification within the AQF. It includes non-accredited workplace training, that is, training that does not lead to a recognised qualification.

Some examples of types of non-formal courses include:
  • Adult education courses (eg. introduction to computing)
  • Hobby and recreation courses (eg. ceramics, jewellery making, dancing)
  • Personal enrichment courses (eg. personal finance, sports instruction, public speaking)
  • Work-related courses (eg. manager development, job search training, induction courses)
  • First aid courses
  • Bridging courses
  • Statements of attainmentOECD

    Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development

    OECD tertiary education

    Tertiary-type A education:
    Tertiary-type A programmes are largely theory-based and are designed to provide sufficient qualifications for entry to advanced research programmes and professions with high skill requirements, such as medicine, dentistry or architecture. Tertiary-type A programmes have a minimum cumulative theoretical duration (at tertiary level) of three years‟ full-time equivalent, although they typically last four or more years. These programmes are not exclusively offered at universities. Conversely, not all programmes nationally recognised as university programmes fulfil the criteria to be classified as tertiary-type A. Tertiary-type A programmes include second degree programmes like the American Master. First and second programmes are sub-classified by the cumulative duration of the programmes, i.e., the total study time needed at the tertiary level to complete the degree.

    Tertiary-type B education:
    Tertiary-type B programmes are typically shorter than those of tertiary-type A and focus on practical, technical or occupational skills for direct entry into the labour market, although some theoretical foundations may be covered in the respective programmes. They have a minimum duration of two years full-time equivalent at the tertiary level.

    People with a vocational or higher education qualification

    Proportion of people with either a vocational or higher education qualification (includes those whose level could not be determined).

    There has been a break in the time series between 1997 and 2009 that is considered to have impacted on the comparability of data relating to qualifications: In 2001, the ABSCQ was replaced by the Australian Standard Classification of Education (ASCED) cat. no. 1272.0. The ASCED is a national standard classification, which can be applied to all sectors of the Australian education system.

    Remoteness area

    Within a state or territory, each Remoteness Area represents an aggregation of non-contiguous geographical areas which share common characteristics of remoteness, determined in the context of Australia as a whole. The delimitation criteria for Remoteness Areas are based on the Accessibility/Remoteness Index of Australia (ARIA). ARIA measures the remoteness of a point based on the physical road distances to the nearest Urban Centre. Not all Remoteness Areas are represented in each state or territory.

    There are six Remoteness Areas in this structure:
    • Major Cities of Australia;
    • Inner Regional Australia;
    • Outer Regional Australia;
    • Remote Australia;
    • Very Remote Australia;
    • Migratory (not in-scope of the 2008 NATSISS).Vocational education qualifications

      Include Advanced Diploma, Diploma and Certificates I to IV (and certificate not further defined).

      Work-related training

      In this section, work-related training is measured as the proportion of employed people (aged 15-74 years) engaged in non-formal work-related training. Work-related training data is not comparable to data from previous years as the definition 'work-related training' was redefined in 2009 to 'non-formal work-related training.' Additionally, formal, non-formal and informal learning distinctions were new to the 2009 Survey of Education and Training.

      Non-formal learning was classified as being a work-related course if the main purpose for participating in the learning was one of the following:
      • to get a job
      • to get a different job or promotion
      • it was a requirement of their job
      • wanted extra skills for their job
      • to start own business
      • to develop existing business
      • to try for a different career

      • Education and training references

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