Canberra 'the most educated' by degrees
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Canberra 'the most educated' by degrees

Canberrans are the most educated people in the country, and are twice as likely to hold post-graduate qualifications than Australians outside the capital.

The capital has the highest proportion of people who have completed year 12 studies, or an equivalent, according to the ''Smart Australians'' report issued by AMP.NATSEM earlier this week.

At 72 per cent, the proportion of Canberrans who have completed their secondary schooling is close to double that of the Northern Territory, the lowest jurisdiction, at 41 per cent.

Report author Rebecca Cassells said the ACT also had the highest retention rate, at 98 per cent.

''It really is an educated population that starts at high school,'' she said.

''It starts at that young age and that's probably a reflection of the parents as well, because we have that highly educated population.''

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The report found that 25 per cent of 15- to 64-year-olds living in the capital held a bachelor degree, above 18 per cent in NSW and the national average of 17 per cent.

''A lot of that has to do with the type of labour market Canberra has,'' Ms Cassells said.

''We do have a very large university sector and public service, so the demand is there for people with university degrees … I'm not surprised that Canberra came out as one of the highest educated places in Australia.''

While students in the capital report higher than average results early on in their education, they also continue learning for longer than most Australians.

The report found that on average Canberrans were twice as likely to hold a post-graduate qualification, at 9 per cent compared to 4.5 per cent nationally. And 80 per cent of locals aged between 35 and 44 held a higher education qualification, such as a post-graduate or bachelor degree.

Chairman of the Australian National University's emeritus faculty Mike Rickard said the results were in keeping with a city in which the residents had an ongoing enthusiasm for education.

''There are a lot of academics floating about, higher than any numbers in any other town,'' he said. ''There are also a lot of public servants and teachers, who would encourage their own children to continue their education. There's a zest for learning through all ages.''

The report also detailed tuition and associated costs for the first year of primary and secondary schooling around the country, stating that rates at a government primary school in Canberra were the lowest in the country.

At $259, the costs were almost $200 less than the national average of $454. Government schools in Canberra were also the cheapest in the country for the first year of secondary school at $513, compared to $878 nationally.

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