My Teachers, My Schools, My Dog and My Friends ..../Class size, teacher's pay and spending: which countries spend the most and pay the least in education?


Class size, teacher's pay and spending: which countries spend the most and pay the least in education?

If you have a child in school in the developed world, there's only one place you can get comprehensive data on how their education is different to that in other OECD countries. It's called Pisa and it's published today. See how the UK, US, Germany, France and more compare

Spending | Private v public | Inequality | Teachers' pay | Class sizes | Immigration

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Students Pledge Allegiance To The Flag In Pennsylvania
First graders pledge allegiance to the flag in the US. How else do education systems differ around the world? Photograph: William Thomas Cain/Getty Images

Unless you're an academic or an educational expert, you may never have heard of Pisa. But, if you care about education, the Education at a glance report offers an unrivaled set of educational indicators that tell you not so much about how students achieve (although it does include that data) but how education systems differ across the developed world.

And this year covers the financial crisis which hit in 2008 - with data going up to 2009.

There is a tonne of information and data in there - we've extracted the key ones for you.

Spending

As a percentage of GDP spending across all levels of education is up in the UK, from 3.6% in 1995 to 4.5% in 2009 in the UK, from below the OECD average to a level now higher than the latest figure of 4.0%. No country saw a steeper increase in spending on further and higher education than the UK.

Also, despite a decline in GDP between 2008 and 2009, expenditure on education grew by 10.5%-points, 2.2%-points more than the OECD average

Interestingly, the UK had one of the highest enrolment rates in early childhood and primary education among four-year-olds - but annual spending per pre-primary student is less than the OECD average.

Private v public

It's a staggering rise: 14.8% of the UK's educational spending came from private sources in 2000, by 2009 it had shot up to 31.1%. The UK now has a higher percentage than the US and Australia. It's only just below Japan, Korea and Chile.

It's also had the highest rise in spending on further and higher education of any OECD country - but that money has come from the private sector, which has contributed heavily to the numbers in the table above.

Inequality and education

Despite widening inequality in the UK it has a higher than average number of students who've managed to climb up the social ladder. Around 41% of 25-34 year-olds in the UK have reached a higher level of education than their parents, compared with an OECD average of 37%.

Meanwhile, the average employment rate of higher-educated 25-64 year-olds in the UK increased even during the financial crisis (by 0.1%-points) although it went down for people with lower levels of education by 3.3%_points between 2008 and 2010. In fact, the earnings premium for tertiary-educated individuals increased from 54% to 65% - and went downfor people without upper secondary education from 71% to 67%, compared with the average earnings for upper secondary graduates.

Teachers' pay

If you exclude the huge teacher's salaries in (very expensive) Luxembourg, then Germany has the highest across the OECD, followed by Canada and Ireland. The US is high up the list too, but teacher salaries have only ncreased by 3.1% since 2000, less than inflation.

In the UK, for primary school teachers with at least 15 years of experience, salaries average ,145 (£28,000), above the OECD average of ,603 (£23,800). For lower secondary school teachers with at least 15 years of experience average it's ,145. Lower and upper secondary school teachers in England earn 109% more than similarly-educated workers in other professions (the OECD averages are 85% and 90%, respectively).

In Scotland there have been big increases - between 2000 and 2010, primary, lower secondary and upper secondary teachers' salaries went up by 21% in real terms in Scotland – the 7th highest increase in OECD countries and a 4%-point increase on the OECD average. In England, primary, lower secondary and upper secondary teachers' salaries increased 9%.

The UK has the highest proportion of teachers below the age of 30 in the OECD - 61.4% of primary school teachers are younger than 40 – the OECD average is 41.1%.

Class sizes

England has some of the highest class sizes in the developed world, beaten only by Mexico and Turkey, with an average of 26.1. That is a ratio of 19.8 students per teacher, compared to an OECD average of 15.7.

While primary school teachers in England, for instance, have to cope with comparatively large classes, they have a lighter teaching load. The number of teaching hours per teacher in English state schools averaged 684 hours per year in primary education (the OECD average is 782 hours), 703 hours in lower secondary education (the OECD average is 704 hours), and 703 hours in upper secondary education (the OECD average is 658 hours) in 2010.

In Scotland, more hours are taught: 855 hours per year in primary, lower secondary and upper secondary education. However, the number of teaching hours has been decreasing over time in Scotland, from 950 hours in 2000 to 893 hours in 2005 and to 855 hours in 2010 at the primary level.

Students in England receive an average of 7,258 hours of teaching between the ages of 7 and 14 - 396 hours more than the OECD average of 6,862 hours.

Immigration

A third of the UK's top pupils (in the top 25% of the population) are from immigrant families - but at the same time 80% of students with an immigrant background attend schools with a high percentage of immigrant students. The report finds that "even immigrant students with highly-educated mothers are more than twice as likely to be in disadvantaged schools as non-immigrant students".

Data summary

Education: how OECD countries compare

Click heading to sort table. Download this data

 
Spending per student, $: secondary
% spending on education from private sources, 2009
Public spending on education, % of GDP
International students as % of all further/higher education enrolment
Ave teacher salary, 2010, $
% change 2000-2010
Est class size
 
 
 
 


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