General education in Victoria

The importance of a general educationEquations on blackboard

Almost all schools use Years 7 to 10 to give students a solid grounding in the most important areas of learning and a chance to find out what they like and are good at before they specialise. In Year 10, ‘core’ subjects are still a substantial part of the timetable, but there is some room for choice — with electives such as languages, music or the visual arts allowing students to explore their interests. Even as they begin to specialise, many students like to keep their options open as long as possible by choosing a combination of subjects.

In the more specialised Victorian Certificate of Education (VCE) years, where fewer subjects are taken and each is more demanding, all students continue to study English and, in Year 12, at least three other subjects of their choosing. Most students continuing with an academic program suitable for university preparation tend to divide into subject streams by choosing a range of units in areas such as maths and science, the arts, humanities or business. Many students also undertake Vocational Education and Training (VET) through VET in Schools programs, including trades, because of the comprehensive range of options available.

Before choosing to specialise, students need to have a fairly clear idea of their future, and one to which they — not their parents — are committed. That being said, students often do not have their future neatly planned, and there is no compelling reason why they should. It has become increasingly common for people of all ages to swap between study and work as their ideas about the future evolve. It is very important for students to take every opportunity to get a good general education, keeping interests alive and options open.

To find out more about VCE and VET, visit the Victorian Curriculum and Assessment Authority (VCAA) website.

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