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Current education system in Australia

The purpose of the study is to give personal perspectives on contemporary concerns in Australia relating to economic and social disparities. Opinions have been drawn upon topic like education system in Australia, Australian Public Service, social policy and lifestyle in Australia.

The education sector of Australia is growing and dynamic sectors and contributes significantly towards economic development. Australia has been ranked at the third position for provider of quality education after United States and United Kingdom.

The current education system is broadly divided into four formal sectors namely:

This aims at providing care and supervision to children, prepare them for school, and also make sure that they are capable to participate actively in learning opportunities. These programs are generally conducted in pre-schools, community programs and child care settings. These are basically run by territory and state government. In this regard, the government has developed policy for formal care, offers free subsidy, provides funding, and also oversees quality accreditation systems for early childhood care and education (Gurr, 2020). Apart from this, government also supports specialized education for indigenous Australian to eliminate social differences.

Currently 10584 registered schools operate in Australia and provide education to about 65.4 per cent students. The main focus of primary and secondary schooling is development of literacy. Social and numeracy skills as well as deliver foundational knowledge to students. These schools are either run privately or funded by the government (Australian education system, 2022). The main responsibilities of Australian government include fund allocation to territories and states for meeting reforms and national agreed outcomes and  guaranteeing that financing arrangements for the non-government school sector and institutions are compatible with and facilitate the States' and Territories' legislative, quality of education, effectiveness, and monitoring on educational outcomes obligations. Primary and secondary schools follow national curriculum (Slater, Burton & McKillop, 2022).

The main purpose of vocational education and training is to offer students practical skills knowledge which they require to accomplish activities in an effective and safe manner through variety of disciplines. These courses in Australia are offered by TAFE institutes, adult and community education centers and private RTOs (Australian education system, 2022). VET could start in secondary school, and several VET institutions maintain formal pathways agreement with universities which guarantee VET students admission to university after they complete their VET qualification.

Institutions like Victoria University in Australia consider it to be dual sector as it offers both vocational and higher education. VET programs are provided by a mix of private and public organizations in all States and Territories, just as they are in the school and higher education sectors. In 2015, almost 4.5 million Australian students were enrolled in VET programs (Australian education system, 2022).

This involves years of tough study for obtaining high-level certification. This sector in Australia offers diverse range of courses which lead to highly rated and internationally recognized credentials. Australia has around forty three universities, some are international and others are private institutions (Goss, 2017). Overseas students make up about a quarter of Australian university students.

Australian Public Service

The Australian Qualification Framework (AQF) is a national framework that includes certificates in post compulsory education. The main objective of this framework is to offer quality and formal qualification system all over Australia. It involves ten levels starting from certificate 1 to doctoral degree (Australian education system, 2022).

Hence, Australia is place that offers quality education and has been listed in QS World University rankings in the year 2021. The institutions re linked across the globe which makes it convenient for the Australian education system in delivering quality education. 

 Australia’s education system

Figure: Australia’s education system

Source: (Australian education system, 2022) 

The Australian Public Service (APS) is the Commonwealth of Australia's federal civil service, involved in the administration, policy making, and public services of the government's departments, executive agencies, and statutory bodies. It was formed in 1901 in the federation of Australia as the common public service. The Australian public service is administered by Public service act 1999 of the Parliament of Australia which aims at providing service to the government, public of Australia and Parliament ("The Australian Public Service", 2022). The conduct of public servants of Australia is also administered by a code of conduct as well as guided through the APS values which are set by Australian Public service commission.

The officials and employees of the Australian Public Service are expected to serve the current government with honesty and integrity as well as provide honest and courageous feedback on various matters like public policy which range from homeland security to fiscal policy to social security as well as throughout all government apparatus. Australian Public Service plays a vital role in the life of Australians by providing them quality services in collaboration with territory and state government. The broader Commonwealth public sector, along with the Australian Defense Force, Federation, Australian Rail Track Corporation, and Commonwealth corporate entities like the Australian National University or the Australian Broadcasting Corporation, are not included in the Australian Public Service. Similarly, the civil services of territory and state government are not included in the Australian Public Service.

Every Australian Public Service is expected to report in accordance with the “Outcomes and Programs framework” wherein programs act as link among decisions of Australian government, activities and desired results. Organizations select and report on initiatives which contribute towards government results over the fiscal and the forward years using the Outcomes and Programs Framework.  Portfolio Budget Statements, which educate Parliament and the public about the intended allocation of government outcomes, are produced by all APS agencies (Australian Public Service, 2022).

The main purpose of Australian Public Service is to ensure that its workforce is prepared for the future so that it could satisfy the expectations and demands of the people and government of Australia. Throughout the APS, it strives to strengthen people management, management competency, and professional growth. The statutory accountability and the dedication to change offers opportunity to operate on interesting programs and initiatives and at the same time supporting internal priorities.

In accordance with the statutory accountabilities, it promotes strategic priorities in line with its corporate plan of 2021-2022. This helps in creating more agile and flexible workforce. The six strategic priorities of APS are as follows:

  1. Supporting quality service workforce management which enables APS to develop, hire and retain a diverse and inclusive workforce which is flexible and high-performing at the same time (Australian Public Service, 2022).
  2. To build effective leaders for future because effective leaders are very vital for professional public service. It aims at attaining this through career pathways, succession planning, and mobility, recruitment and talent identification.
  3. A methodical, service-wide strategy to improving its people's capabilities would improve the APS's current effectiveness now and into the future (Australian Public Service, 2022).
  4. To sustain public confidence and trust in the APS, it is critical to establish and maintain a strong culture of integrity. The APS Values, Code of Conduct, and Workforce Standards demonstrate a long-standing commitment towards institutional integrity (What we do, 2022).

Strategic priorities

Social policies are defined principles which are formed for the modification, preservation and creating decent living conditions for people which are beneficial for the welfare of human beings and community at large. Social policy was developed because of welfare of people of Australia was a major concern for the government of Australia.  The government of Australia in general has expressed its outrage regarding the condition of Australian welfare state because of several reasons like growing unemployment, income inequality, discrimination and other social issues among the citizens of Australia.

The goal of the social policy is to promote sustainable development and social and economic inclusion among citizens.  Government of Australia has developed sustainable development indicators in order to improve the socio-economic conditions of its people.  

According the education policy of Australia, the quality of education is higher in non-government educational institutions as well as in major metropolitan regions. This indicates low spending in pre-schooling. In order to support students of disadvantaged groups like Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander students, government has made significant investments with policy like “National Early childhood development strategy, 2009 and has also defined objectives for vocational training for enhancing skills of students ("Education Policy Outlook Snapshot: Australia - OECD", 2022). The main targets of educational policy include development of quality national curriculum, enhancing quality of education, to expand principle’s autonomy and involve parents and community.

The social inclusion policy of Australia aims at providing equal access to employment, services, peer support, local community, and handling personal crisis and empowers people to voice their concerns. Also people experiencing discrimination often impacts mental and physical health of people (Stiftung, 2022). The main social inclusion principle include to assist everyone gain essential skills and quality education, to make people have proper access to good health and other services, organizations as well as government develop policies to listen and respond to people’s concerns, build community strength particularly for people of disadvantaged group, government and organizations collaborating to work for the best interest of people, developing interventions for identifying root causes of social problems, making investments for disadvantages and needy, make efforts to build social inclusion and other (Stiftung, 2022).

Government of Australia has developed health policies for managing health issues of its citizens. Proper funding is provided by the government through Medicare and pharmaceutical benefits schemes in order to provide health benefits to the needy. The Australian healthcare system is a complicated blend of public and private healthcare delivery and funding. As a result, its performance in terms of quality, inclusivity, and cost efficiency varies depending on the system's components (Stiftung, 2022). In general, medical care in Australia is of excellent quality, owing to a highly skilled staff and a long history of rigorous and high-quality doctor training in public hospitals. This also involves health programs like cancer treatment, mental health services, aged care, health emergencies and various other benefits (Health policy, 2022).

In the South Pacific, Australia is a key player in encouraging economic development and poverty reduction in developing nations. Australia is a strong supporter of trade liberalization, particularly in relation to agricultural exports, which are vital to most developing nations' economic development.

Development of social policy in Australia

The legal system of Australia involves diverse forms and is a combination of inherited legislations from Britain and various statutes which has been enforced by various federal and state governments since federation. Australia has its formal written constitution called “Commonwealth of Australia Constitution Act 1900” which is commonly known as Commonwealth constitution. Section 9 of the Commonwealth of Australia Constitution Act 1900, which is an Act of the UK Parliament, is the basic source of the Constitution (Rasnic, 2016). The constitution is a sovereign constitution which serves as the sovereign power and foundation for the federal government's interaction with the Australian states and territory.

Australia is a parliamentary democracy with a parliamentary system of government. Australia has six states and three self-governing territories (The Australian Legal System, 2022). The main foundation of Australian legal system is:

Legislation: These are the policies and rules made by the government of Australia and also by their delegated authorities.

Cases: These are the decisions undertaken by the judges in the court.  

 Australian Parliament system

Figure: Australian Parliament system

Source: (The Australian Legal System, 2022) 

Through the institution of the Commonwealth Parliament, the constitution establishes a system of governance that is accountable to the people and representative of the people. Australia is a country that is divided into several states. The Commonwealth Government and the state’s share some governance and legislative authorities under the Constitution. A federal Commonwealth Parliament exists, and every state and territory has its own government institutions, the most frequent of which is a state legislature ("Legal systems in Australia: overview | Practical Law", 2022).

The parliament system of Australia have developed jurisdiction over various matters like income tax, visa and borders, citizenship, bankruptcy, corporations, family law and other matters. There are several matters which are governed by state legislation and handled by state courts related to matters like contracts, road laws, and criminal law and other.

The main principles of Australian legal system are equality, fairness, transparency and right to be represented. The Commonwealth of Australia Constitution Act involves eight chapters which include legislations about legislative power, senate powers, House of Representatives, houses of parliament, powers of parliament, executive government, the judicature, finance and trade, the states, new states, alteration of the constitution and miscellaneous ("The Australian Constitution", 2022).

The other areas contained in the constitution involve external affairs, marriage and divorce, taxation, international and local trade, immigration, bankruptcy and other. The main laws in the Australian legal system are constructed by Parliaments enacting ‘statute law'; the executive enacting 'delegated legislation,' including such regulatory requirements, guidelines, and ordinances, all under the jurisdiction of parliament and statutory law; and courts trying to interpret the legislation and determining cases based on how similar cases have been decided in the past and applying those decisions to the facts of the case they are currently deciding, all known as 'common law' (The Australian Constitution, 2022).

The main bodies involved in the Australian legal system are as follows:

Commonwealth government: The legislations are passed by Commonwealth government and elected by citizens of Australia who are enrolled for the vote.

Territory and state government: Legislations are passed by territory and state government and elected by people living in state or territory ("Legal systems in Australia: overview | Practical Law", 2022).

Local government: Local councilors are responsible for passing laws in local government and elected by people living in local area.

Australia is a diverse nation and includes several communities and cultures. Because of the shared spirit and attitude of this country, it creates a link among people of diverse background. Australians possess very easy going attitudes and they are globally recognized for this quality. The major part of Australian culture includes food, history, art and events. Aussies have friendly attitude and they like to appreciate things near them (Bohanna et al., 2021).  Apart from this, Australians love outdoor visits and poses spirit of friendship.

Through Australia has diverse culture but it is mainly a Christian nation with 52 per cent Australians performing Christianity. There is no restriction in Australia about practice of religion. People here are free to preach and practice any religion as long as they do not breach any law. Australia is a land of cultural diversity and several religions are followed in the country.

There is no official language being spoken in the nation. Though, majority of people speak English and their first language. People from around 200 nations have migrated to Australia in search of education, employment and high standard of living, so, there is huge collection of languages spoken here. Some of the other languages that are spoken in Australia are Greek, Cantonese, Mandarin, Arabic and Italian (Gallegos et al., 2021). There were about 400 Aboriginal languages spoken in Australia at one time, but only seventy have survived, and all but thirty are endangered. Approximately 50,000 Aboriginal people in Australia speak one indigenous language as their primary language.

The first and foremost story of Australia’s lifestyle belongs to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples. They migrated from Africa about seventy thousand years ago through Asia to Australia. It is believed that when British migrated to Australia they brought disease like measles, pox, tuberculosis and other diseases. Land and water resources were also taken by the British in Australia, and rural lands were converted for sheep and cow grazing.

In today's Australia, there is a tremendous deal of variation among Indigenous groups and societies. Most part of the Australian population is urban and people often prefer informal and casual lifestyle. They prefer equality and time management in their personal and professional lifestyles. People of Australia also love art and literature. Their art dates back to prehistoric times (Australia’s Lifestyle and Culture, 2022). This involves Atelier, Aboriginal, Colonial and landscape. Australia is a land of sculptor’s and contemporary art and has major art galleries and museums in this regard.

Dining with friends, family, and the larger community around a shared table, either wining or dining, is an essential element of Australian culture. There are endless cuisines options available in Australia. Also, people here are very find of events and festivals. Events and festivals are an integral part of Australia’s lifestyle (Gallegos et al., 2021). In this regard, they have exiting list of events and festivals wherein local as well as tourists gather to celebrate and enjoy food, music, sports, art and culture. Some common events include New Year eve, Adelaide festival, gay and lesbian Mardi gras, Chinese New Year, Melbourne cup day and many more.

Australia is a multicultural country with a wide range of cultures. It is highly friendly to foreign students and migrants, and it embraces their diverse cultures. However, Australia, like many other countries around the world, is not crime-free (Australia’s Lifestyle and Culture, 2022). But one can prevent being placed in susceptible situations by employing certain strategies and legislations.

References 

Australia’s Lifestyle and Culture - Tourism Australia. Australia.com. (2022). Retrieved 25 April 2022, from https://www.australia.com/en-in/facts-and-planning/about-australia/the-aussie-way-of-life.html.

Australian education system (2022). Retrieved 25 April 2022, from https://www.dfat.gov.au/sites/default/files/australian-education-system-foundation.pdf.

Australian education system (2022). Retrieved 25 April 2022, from https://www.dfat.gov.au/sites/default/files/australian-education-system-practitioner.pdf.

Australian Public Service (2022). Retrieved 25 April 2022, from https://www.apsc.gov.au/.

Australian Public Service, what we do, (2022). Retrieved 25 April 2022, from https://www.apsc.gov.au/about-us/what-we-do.

Bohanna, I., Harriss, L., McDonald, M., Cullen, J., Strivens, E., Bird, K., ... & Barker, R. (2021). A systematic review of disability, rehabilitation and lifestyle services in rural and remote Australia through the lens of the people-centred health care. Disability and Rehabilitation, 1-12.

Education Policy Outlook Snapshot: Australia - OECD. Oecd.org. (2022). Retrieved 25 April 2022, from https://www.oecd.org/education/highlightsaustralia.htm#:~:text=Through%20its%20schools'%20policy%2C%20Students,how%20their%20school%20is%20run.

Gallegos, D., Do, H., To, Q. G., Vo, B., Goris, J., & Alraman, H. (2021). The effectiveness of living well multicultural?lifestyle management program among ethnic populations in Queensland, Australia. Health Promotion Journal of Australia, 32(1), 84-95.

Goss, P. (2017). Towards an adaptive education system in Australia. Grattan Institute. https://grattan.edu.au/wp-content/uploads/2017/11/894-Adaptive-Education.pdf

Gurr, D. (2020). Australia: The Australian education system. In Educational Authorities and the Schools (pp. 311-331). Springer, Cham. https://link.springer.com/chapter/10.1007/978-3-030-76837-9_10

Health policy (2022). Retrieved 25 April 2022, from https://www.health.gov.au/about-us/what-we-do/policy#:~:text=Policies%20we%20work%20on&text=funding%20Australia's%20health%20systems%2C%20such,mental%20health%20services.

Legal systems in Australia: overview | Practical Law. Practical Law. (2022). Retrieved 25 April 2022, from https://uk.practicallaw.thomsonreuters.com/0-638-7137?transitionType=Default&contextData=(sc.Default)&firstPage=true.

LibGuides: Law: The Australian Legal System. Libguides.anu.edu.au. (2022). Retrieved 25 April 2022, from https://libguides.anu.edu.au/c.php?g=634887&p=4547083.

Library.bsl.org.au. (2022). Retrieved 25 April 2022, from https://library.bsl.org.au/jspui/bitstream/1/1617/1/Social%20inclusion%20principles%20for%20Australia.pdf.

Rasnic, C. D. (2016). The Constitution of the Commonwealth of Australia. International Journal of Constitutional Law, 14(4), 1038-1043. https://www.aph.gov.au/constitution

Slater, E. V., Burton, K., & McKillop, D. (2022). Reasons for home educating in Australia: who and why?. Educational review, 74(2), 263-280. https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/pdf/10.1080/00131911.2020.1728232

Stiftung, B. (2022). SGI 2019 | Australia | Social Policies. Sgi-network.org. Retrieved 25 April 2022, from https://www.sgi-network.org/2019/Australia/Social_Policies.

The Australian Constitution. Aph.gov.au. (2022). Retrieved 25 April 2022, from https://www.aph.gov.au/constitution.

The Australian Public Service. Aph.gov.au. (2022). Retrieved 25 April 2022, from https://www.aph.gov.au/About_Parliament/Parliamentary_Departments/Parliamentary_Library/pubs/BriefingBook46p/APS.

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