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Commercial Education Society of Australia


The Commercial Education Society of Australia (CESA) is an independent, non-profit organization formed in 1910 to promote and maintain within Australia and neighbouring countries the teaching and practice of commercial subjects and to improve the status of teachers and practitioners of those subjects. The Society also encourages and assists the development of mutuality and a community of interest in its membership body. This is done by conducting low-cost independent public examinations for students and issuing candidates with certificates to improve their employment opportunities — see Examinations.

The Society is independent and self-supporting. It is a non-profit organisation. The Society has never been in receipt of public monies or subsidies.

Since its earliest days the Society has been in touch with industry requirements for vocational education and training skills. It meets those needs by offering a cost-effective, public examination service.

The Society offers examinations in Levels 2, 3 and 4 in Business, Information Technology and Communication.

All assessments are based on the Australian Quality Training Framework standards.


The Society’s longevity is due in large measure to an unshakeable belief among our members in the worth of what we are doing. It is due also to relationships — among members and with schools, colleges and their students.

Now, in its 105th year, the Society is an organisation of trainers, assessors and members whose aim is to help improve standards of vocational education and training for the vocational education sector.

A Brief History

In 1910 most vocational education and training was delivered by private colleges. Each college conducted its own exams and issued its own qualifications. Some colleges wanted a stronger guarantee of integrity. It seemed to them that the best way to achieve that was by sending the exam papers overseas.

In 1910 the only external organisations conducting independent exams in commercial subjects were in the United Kingdom. Exam papers had to be sent from Australia to England, and the results sent back to Australia. There was no air mail. Everything had to go by sea. It took months to get results.

So, a group of colleges decided to form an Australian Chapter of the Incorporated Phonographic Society (UK). This body would be independent of all colleges and conduct impartial examinations within Australia and it would be more time efficient and cost effective.

That was our foundation.

Over the years we have examined thousands of students. We are well known, and we are trusted. We also examine widely internationally.


The mission of the Society is to provide students with the opportunity to raise their standards of education so that they can take advantage of the opportunities for further education and employment. This is reflected in the Society’s coat-of-arms Digne Ambulate — walk worthily.


The CESA is an independent examination body for students. For teachers and practitioners, it is a professional development body that encourages lifelong learning for a sustainable career in the vocational education and training sector.


As a fully independent examination body, the CESA examines students from a diversity of backgrounds.

The goal of the CESA is to invite input from practitioners both in employment and in the policy area, build links with like educational bodies, and to focus on the developments of technology that will benefit teaching and learning.

© Copyright CESA 2018