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Tertiary education in Australia

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Tertiary education
Tertiary education (or higher education) in Australia is primarily study at university or a technical college studying Diploma or above in order to receive a qualification or further skills and training.  A higher education provider is a body that is established or recognised by or under the law of the Australian Government, a State, the Australian Capital Territory or the Northern Territory. VET providers, both public and private are registered by state and territory governments.

There are 43 universities in Australia: 40 public universities, two international universities and one private university. As of 2015, the largest university in Australia was Monash University in Melbourne: with five campuses and 75,000 students.

There are non-self-accrediting higher education providers accredited by state and territory authorities, numbering more than 132 as listed on state and territory registers. These include several that are registered in more than one state and territory.

All students doing nationally recognised training need to have a Unique Student Identifier (USI).

International tertiary students
Australia has the highest ratio of international students per head of population in the world by a large margin, with 812,000 international students enrolled in the nation's universities and vocational institutions in 2019. Accordingly, in 2019, international students represented on average 26.7% of the student bodies of Australian universities. International education therefore represents one of the country's largest exports and has a pronounced influcence on the country's demographics, with a significant proportion of international students remaining in Australia after graduation on various skill and employment visas. The Australian onshore international education sector is predicted to rise to 940,000 by 2025. The biggest source markets for onshore international learner enrolments in 2025 are expected to be China, India, Vietnam, Thailand, Nepal, Malaysia, Brazil and South Korea. According to a 2016 report by Deloitte Access Economics for the Australian Trade and Investment Commission, higher education and VET were projected to be the fastest growing sectors in onshore international education by 2025.

33 Australian tertiary educational institutions were listed in the QS World University Rankings for 2016; and 31 institutions were listed in The Times Higher Education World University Rankings in the same year. As of 2019, 33 Australian universities were listed in China's Academic Ranking of World Universities ranking, with The University of Melbourne achieving the highest global ranking, at 41st. In the same year, according to the U.S. News & World Report Best Global Universities Rankings, 33 Australian universities were ranked ranging from the University of the Sunshine Coast, tied in 1,040th place, to The University of Melbourne, in 26th place.

The Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA) evaluation in 2006 ranked the Australian education system as sixth for reading, eighth for science and thirteenth for mathematics, on a worldwide scale including 56 countries. The PISA evaluation in 2009 ranked the Australian education system as sixth for reading, seventh for science and ninth for mathematics, an improvement relative to the 2006 rankings. In 2012, education firm Pearson ranked  Australian education as thirteenth in the world.

The Education Index, published with the UN's Human Development Index in 2018, based on data from 2017, listed Australia as 0.929, the second-highest in the world.


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