2007.0 - Census of Population and Housing: Consultation on Topics, 2021  
Latest ISSUE Released at 11:30 AM (CANBERRA TIME) 03/04/2018   
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The ABS is consulting to seek views on the information to be collected in the next Census and this topic brief provides detail about what has been previously included on education and training.

The opportunity to participate in the consultation will be available from 3 April to 30 June 2018 via consult.abs.gov.au


Education and training topics on the Census included:

  • attendance at an educational institution
  • engagement in employment, education and training
  • highest year of schooling
  • highest non-school qualification.


Education and training data from the Census is used for a variety of purposes at federal, state/territory and community levels to:
  • inform the allocation of education services (such as new schools) across Australia
  • know the labour market by assessing the number of people with different qualifications
  • understand the employment outcomes for people based on their level and field of education
  • monitor the flows of people between different parts of the education system (preschools, schools, vocational and higher education institutions)
  • understand the characteristics (such as the income) of households that have members attending an educational institution (such as a high school)
  • report on progress against targets in national reporting (such as Closing the Gap).

  • Is the person attending a school or any other educational institution?
  • What type of educational institution is the person attending?
  • What is the highest year of primary or secondary school the person has completed?
  • Has the person completed an educational qualification (including a trade certificate)?
  • What is the level of the highest qualification the person has completed?
  • What is the main field of study for the person's highest qualification completed?
  • Did the person complete this qualification before 1998?


Questions about education and training provide data on:
  • Engagement in Employment, Education and Training (EETP, STUP)
  • Full-Time/Part-Time Student Status (STUP, TYSTAP)
  • Level of Highest Educational Attainment (HEAP)
  • Highest Year of School Completed (HSCP)
  • Non-School Qualification (level of education and field of study) (QALFP, QALLP)

For more information view 2901.0 - Census Dictionary

Source: 2071.0 - Census of Population and Housing: Reflecting Australia - Stories from the Census, 2016

Infographic showing the proportion of people employed and median personal income by the level of qualification.
Infographic showing the proportion of people employed and median personal income by the level of qualification.

Infographic showing the change in different levels of qualifications over time, 2006, 2011 and 2016.
Infographic showing the change in different levels of qualifications over time, 2006, 2011 and 2016.

Infographic showing the proportion of men and women of different ages with qualifications.
Infographic showing the proportion of men and women of different ages with qualifications.

Infographic showing the top five occupations for people with different levels of qualifications.
Infographic showing the top five occupations for people with different levels of qualifications.


A number of standards are used by the ABS to classify statistics relating to education and training:
1272.0 - Australian Standard Classification of Education (ASCED), 2001
1246.0 - Education Variables, June 2014


The ABS has undertaken initial discussions and reviewed feedback from the 2016 Census in preparation for this consultation.

Feedback from stakeholders has indicated that education and training is still a relevant and important topic to be included on the 2021 Census. Specifically, we have heard how expanded data on this topic could help to understand new and emerging themes and issues.

Discussions have suggested that beneficial expanded data may include:
  • other qualifications people may have attained in addition to their highest qualification
  • the population group that engages with Vocational Education and Training (VET)
  • early childhood learning and its role in the pathways through the education system and employment outcomes
  • adding questions on the educational institution address and mode of travel to education.

This consultation is an opportunity for you to provide your views on what education and training information should be collected on the 2021 Census.


The ABS collects data on education and training through a number of different collections. Listed below is a selection of ABS publications as well as other relevant sources. For the comprehensive list of ABS products, please visit the ABS website.

6227.0 - Education and Work, Australia, May 2017
This publication contains results from the 2017 Survey of Education and Work (SEW). The SEW provides annual information on a range of key indicators of educational participation and attainment of persons aged 15-74 years, along with data on people's transition between education and work. The annual time series allows for ongoing monitoring of the level of education of Australia's population including participation in current and previous study; type of educational institution attended; highest year of school completed; level and field of highest non-school qualification; characteristics of people's transition between education and work; and selected characteristics of apprentices and trainees.

4240.0 - Preschool Education, Australia, 2017
This annual publication contains statistics on children enrolled and attending preschool programs across Australia in 2017. The statistics were compiled from data collected through the National Early Childhood Education and Care Collection which includes data about service providers and children.

4221.0 - Schools Australia 2017
This annual publication contains data on students, schools and staff involved in the provision or administration of primary and secondary education, in government and non-government schools, for all Australian states and territories. The statistics are derived from administrative records compiled by each state and territory and the Australian Government.

4234.0 - Work-Related Training and Adult Learning, Australia, 2016-17
This publication contains results from the Survey of Work-Related Training and Adult Learning (WRTAL), This survey collected information about the level of participation of Australia's population in formal and non-formal learning, with a particular focus on work-related training and personal interest learning. Information available from the survey includes participation rates in non-formal learning, the reasons for participation, the time spent, personal costs incurred and also data on the barriers that prevent some people from undertaking training.

4235.0 - Qualifications and Work, Australia, 2015
This survey collects detailed information about the educational history of people and the relevance of each qualification to their working lives. The data includes the level and field of each qualification, year of completion and whether the qualification was attained in Australia.

4402.0 - Childhood Education and Care, Australia, June 2014
The statistics in this publication were compiled from data collected in the Childhood Education and Care Survey (CEaCS). This publication presents information on children aged 0-12 years and their families. Information presented includes: use of formal and informal care; cost and duration of care; working arrangements used by parents to care for their children; attendance at preschool programs; requirements for additional formal care or preschool; and informal learning.

4228.0 - Programme for the International Assessment of Adult Competencies, Australia, 2011-2012
This publication presents data for the 2011-2012 Programme for the International Assessment of Adult Competencies (PIAAC). Respondents to this survey completed tasks designed to assess their skills in literacy, numeracy and problem solving in technology-rich environments.

PIAAC is an international survey coordinated by the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD). The OECD proposes to conduct the PIAAC survey internationally every ten years. The next PIAAC survey is therefore proposed to be conducted in 2021.

Australia Early Development Census
The Australian Early Development Census (AEDC) provides a national measurement to monitor Australian children’s development. The AEDC provides evidence to support policy, planning and action for health, education and community support. The AEDC can assist governments to develop flexible approaches to policy and planning that address the evolving needs of children and families in the future.

The AEDC is held every three years, with the 2018 data collection being the fourth collection. The census involves teachers of children in their first year of full-time school completing a research tool, the Australian version of the Early Development Instrument. The Instrument collects data relating to five key areas of early childhood development referred to as ‘domains’, these include:
  • physical health and well being
  • social competence
  • emotional maturity
  • language and cognitive skills
  • communication skills and general knowledge.

What are your education and training data needs? Share your views with us on the most useful information we should collect in the 2021 Census. Make your submission to our review of 2021 Census topics at the ABS Consultation Hub.

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