Norway is the Third Most Spending Country in Education

This year’s edition of Education at a Glance also reveals the difficulties that governments face in financing education. Between 2010 and 2012, GDP began to rise again in most countries, and public spending on primary to tertiary educational institutions fell in more than one in three OECD countries, including Australia, Canada, Estonia, France, Hungary, Italy, Portugal, Slovenia, Spain and the United States.

Amid budget cuts at primary and secondary levels, most governments have chosen to reduce teacher salaries rather than increase class sizes. But evidence from the OECD’s PISA programme reveals that high-performing countries, such as Finland, Japan or Korea, prioritise teaching and teachers over infrastructure and class sizes.

Norway becomes the tihrd country in educational expenditures, however, the attainment level is not in parallel with the investment compared to other high performing countries. 

The number of countries showing an increase in salaries, in real terms, shrank to about one in two OECD countries between 2008 and 2013. On average across the OECD, pre-primary and primary teachers earn 78% of the salary of a similarly-educated,  full-time worker; lower secondary teachers are paid 80% and upper secondary teachers 82% of that benchmark salary.

These uncompetitive salaries will make it harder to attract the best candidates to the teaching profession, especially as the teaching workforce is ageing, with 35% of secondary school teachers at least 50 years old in 2013. That proportion rose by 3 percentage points between 2005 and 2013. The increase was 10 percentage points or more in Greece, Korea, Portugal and Slovenia and 19 points in Austria.

Education at a Glance provides comparable national statistics measuring the state of education worldwide. The report analyses the education systems of the 34 OECD member countries, as well as Argentina, Brazil, China, Colombia, Costa Rica, India, Indonesia, Latvia, Lithuania, the Russian Federation, Saudi Arabia and South Africa.

The report’s finding in brief:

Educational attainment

Around 85% of today’s young people will complete upper secondary education over their lifetimes. In all countries, young women are now more likely to do so than men. The largest gender gap is in Slovenia, where 95% of young women are expected to graduate from upper secondary, compared to only 76% of young men. 

Around 41% of 25-34 year olds in OECD countries now have a university-level education. That proportion is 16 percentage points larger than of 55-64 year-olds who have attained a similar level of education. In many countries, this difference exceeds 20 percentage points. 

The number of students enrolled outside their country of citizenship has risen dramatically, from 1.7 million worldwide in 1995 to more than 4.5 million. Some 27% of students in OECD countries who graduated for the first time from a doctoral programme in 2013 were international students, compared to only 7% for students who were awarded a bachelor’s degree. (Indicator A3)

On average, 83% of tertiary-educated people are employed, compared with 74% of people with an upper secondary or post-secondary non-tertiary education and 56% of people with below upper-secondary education. 

Education spending 

OECD countries spend on average USD 10,220 per student per year from primary through tertiary education: USD 8,247 per primary student, USD 9,518 per secondary student, and USD 15,028 per tertiary student. 

The share of private funding in tertiary education has increased over the past decade. About two thirds of private funding at tertiary level comes from households through tuition fees. Tuition fees are higher than USD 2000 in more than half of the countries with available data, exceed USD 4000 in Australia, Canada, Korea and New Zealand, USD 5000 in Japan and USD 8000 in the United Kingdom and United States. 

OECD countries spent an average of 5.3% of GDP on primary to tertiary education in 2012 (including undistributed programmes by level of education). Public funding accounts for 83.5% of all spending on primary to tertiary educational institutions. Public spending on education fell in more than one out of three OECD countries between 2010 and 2012, including Australia, Canada, Estonia, France, Hungary, Italy, Portugal, Slovenia, Spain and the United States. 

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