Education at a glance 2020


OECD published Education Review 2020. It presents 25 indicators for assessing social outcomes of learning, transition from learning to labor market, access to education, financial resources invested in educational institutions, and tuition remuneration in OECD countries and a number of partner countries.

The level of spending on educational institutions in a country depends on the number of school-age population. Funding is also affected by enrollment rates, teachers' salaries, organization and delivery of training.

C2 indicator measures the share of GDP invested in educational institutions. This measure demonstrates priority of educational institutions depending on total resources of the country. Spending on educational institutions includes expenditures of the government, enterprises and individual students and their families.

According to the report, after an increase in spending by OECD countries between 2005 and 2012, share of total spending on primary and higher education institutions in gross domestic product (GDP) decreased to an average of 4.9% in 2017, which is lower than its value of 5.1% in 2005. This happened because spending on education grew slower than GDP during this period, rising by 17%, while GDP grew up by 27%.  

On the average, share of national resources allocated to non-tertiary (non-higher) education (primary, secondary and post-secondary non-tertiary education) was 3.5% of GDP, which is much higher than the share of GDP allocated to higher education (1.4% of GDP).

Figure 1. Total expenditure on educational institutions as a percentage of GDP (2017) from public, private and international sources by education level. Source. OECD

Private sources of funding play a crucial role in financing higher education, accounting for an average of about one-third of spending on educational institutions, or 0.4% of GDP after transfers between the state and the private sector. At the level of non-primary (lower) education, private spending on education accounts for only one tenth of total spending on educational institutions, or 0.3% of GDP.

Between 2012 and 2017, total spending on primary and higher education institutions as a share of GDP decreased by more than two-thirds in OECD and partner countries. Overall spending on educational institutions increased slower than GDP.

In 2017, total expenditures were approximately us $ 9.1 thousand per student in primary schools and US $ 10.5 thousand in secondary schools on average across OECD countries.

At senior high school level, professional programs cost on average about $ 1,500 more per student than general education programs, since they typically require more complex equipment and facilities, and on-the-job training can incur additional costs.

At the higher education level, total spending in 2017 was us $ 16,300 per student across OECD countries. At this level, 68% of total spending comes from public sources, compared to 90% at lower levels of education. The largest share falls to staff remuneration, which accounts for 77% of expenditures at the pre-tertiary (pre-higher) level and 67% at the tertiary (higher education) level.

Public budgets are carefully controlled by governments, and during economic downturns, even basic sectors such as education can be cut. When deciding how much to allocate to educational institutions, governments must balance the need for increased spending in areas such as teachers' salaries and educational institutions with other areas of investment. As government budgets tighten, many education systems increasingly address private sector for additional investment, especially at higher education level.

Professional education and training (PET).

Review focuses on vocational education and training (VET). In some countries where vocational education is more widespread, adults with VET qualifications have a high employment rate. However, advantage of professional qualifications for employment tends to weaken throughout lifetime.

Participation in VET programs has both personal and social positive results: possibility of obtaining qualifications, integration into labor market with satisfactory salaries, opportunities for further career growth, professional status and economic competitiveness.

Combined education - based and work-based learning is relatively rare, despite the advantages. Countries with strong integrated school-based and work-based vocational training programs are also the countries with the highest employment rate for adults with vocational education, even surpassing that of adults with higher education, in some cases. However, on average in OECD countries, only one third of all students in higher secondary vocational schools are enrolled in such programs. Popular areas of study among graduates of professional educational institutions vary at different levels of education. While engineering, manufacturing, and construction are the most common areas of activity in high school, at the level of short-term higher education programs, most students study business, management, and law, or health and social security.

On average, across the OECD countries, 33% of graduates of secondary vocational education programs in 2018 received qualifications in the broad field of design, manufacturing and construction. Share of business, administration and law falls down to 18%; 17% for services; 13% for health and well - being; and 4% for information and communication technologies (ICT).

However, this does not apply to all countries. In Estonia, Hungary, and Iceland, 50% or more of students undertake higher education in engineering, manufacturing, and construction. In contrast, business, administration, and law are the most popular areas at this level in Brazil, Luxembourg, and Switzerland. In Ireland, the Netherlands, Spain, and the United Kingdom, health and social care fields are the most popular of selected areas.

Figure 2. Percentage of graduates of secondary professional educational institutions in selected areas of study (2018) Source. OECD

The cost of VET programs varies greatly depending on areas of study that students follow. For example, some VET programs require expensive equipment or complex infrastructure to train students. Countries where a significant proportion of VET students graduate in engineering, manufacturing, and construction (Chile, Estonia, Iceland, and Sweden) tend to spend more per student in vocational training programs than in general ones.

There is a gender gap in areas of study, which may be partially explained by social perceptions of what women and men excel at, and the careers they can pursue. For example, low percentage of women in design, manufacturing, and construction may be result of a social perception of science as a male field, which may discourage women from continuing research in this field.

In contrast, excessive share of women in healthcare-related fields seems to reflect their perceived propensity to take up positions, since women make up a significant proportion of front-line health workers. In the context of the current healthcare crisis, their exposure to infectious diseases is increasing, which, in turn, places a heavy psychological burden on female healthcare professionals.

Professional education during COVID-19 quarantine

The unprecedented healthcare crisis associated with outbreak of COVID-19 around the world has serious consequences for economy and, consequently, for education systems, which are themselves vectors of economic growth. In most countries, schools were closed for several months, resulting in a loss of about 14 weeks (although these may include school and public holidays) in the first half of 2020 on the average, across countries. Thanks to actions of governments, distance learning has become a fairly effective solution during this period. In many cases, distance learning had to be implemented immediately and without special training, forcing teachers to use new techniques and methods.

Distance learning is not accessible to everyone, for example,students from disadvantaged families who need more individual support, or less well-off families who do not have necessary equipment or material resources to provide their children with appropriate conditions.

In contrast to academic education, where it is possible to use more flexible options of education - distance learning programs; professional education faces the challenges of finding new forms of e-learning that will allow students to continue developing their skills.

Whether they are school-based or combined study and work programs, practical hands-on learning forms an important part of their curriculum, which is difficult to do from a distance. Some areas, such as agriculture, healthcare, engineering, construction, or crafts, require special equipment, training in small groups for practical demonstrations, and close attention from teachers to make sure that the actions performed by students are correct. In this case, distance education provides limited learning opportunities, raising questions about educational losses. Students' on-the-job training in companies and sectors that have stopped as a result of border closures and quarantines, such as catering or tourism, has mostly stopped working. With the economic crisis looming, it is also an open question whether companies will want to continue taking on apprentices when their priority is to restart their businesses.

Countries have developed the following measures for continuing education in vocational-oriented programs:

-    increasing use of online and virtual platforms that are more suitable for VET to ensure continuous learning;
-    funding for study breaks or extensions;
-    providing financial salary support for up-keeping students, to allow students to maintain contact with employers and, if possible, continue working through remote work or virtual meetings;
-    offer flexible skills assessment and qualification, as many sectors, especially in healthcare, may need to quickly establish a direct path to qualification in response to COVID-19 crisis;
-    inform, engage, and communicate with students, health care providers, and social partners about new assessment recommendations or to make students aware of changes in rules and practices;
-    investing in VET to mitigate future shortage of skills and minimize negative consequences caused by the crisis.

Full secondary education still provides protection against unemployment. On the average, 61% of people aged 25-34 who do not have a full secondary education are employed in OECD countries, compared to 78% of those who have a full secondary or specialized secondary non-specific (lower) education as their highest level.

Young people who give up school before finishing secondary education usually face problems in the labor market, including worse employment prospects. For example, those who have not completed a full secondary education are more likely not to be employed, receive an education or vocational training (NEET - Neither Employed nor in Education or Training). On average, in OECD countries, up to 39% of people aged 25 to 29 who do not have a full secondary education have NEET status (Neither Employed nor in Education or Training), compared to 17% for those who have a full secondary or specialized secondary education.

How are social outcomes related to education?

-    Most children from families with low levels of education report being bullied. On average, across OECD countries, 26% of 15-year-olds whose parents have not finished higher secondary school report having at least one form of bullying, compared to 22% of students who have at least one parent with full secondary education, specialized secondary education, and 23% of students who have at least one parent with higher education;
-    Verbal bullying is more common than physical forms of bullying. For example, in OECD countries, 15% of 15-year-olds whose parents did not finish high school report that other students made fun of them at least a few times a month, and 10% reported being hit or pushed.

Universal or near-universal participation for at least one year in ECEC (Early childhood education and care) education for young children is now the norm in OECD countries, which is significant progress towards achieving one of the United Nations' Sustainable Development Educational Goals (SDG 4.2.2). The enrolment rate for children aged 5 years in pre-school or primary education was 90% or higher in all countries for which data are available in 2018, with the exception of Colombia, Finland, the Russian Federation, Saudi Arabia, the Slovak Republic and Turkey.

Teachers are often at the center of initiatives to improve the quality of education, as their work can affect the quality of learning and student outcomes. Primary education personnel is the foundation of high-quality education. On average, in OECD countries, there are 7 children for every teacher working in primary education development services (ISCED 01), and 14 children in the first stage of secondary education (ISCED 02).

Goal 4 of the SDG focuses on teachers and provides indicators that help track issues such as the attractiveness of teaching profession, availability of qualified and trained teachers, and professional development of teachers.

According to D3 indicator, on average in OECD countries, primary school teachers (aged 25-64) in general education programs earn only 89% of the real wages of other employees with higher education. However, relative wages vary significantly from country to country. For example, while teachers earn about 65% of the real wages of other workers with higher education in the Czech Republic and the United States, they earn at least 30% more in Costa Rica, Lithuania, and Portugal.

On average, across OECD countries, while male lower secondary school teachers earn 77% of the salary of men working full-time with higher education, female teachers earn slightly more than their counterparts in other professions.

The full version of the review is available at the following link

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Saved: 06.02.2023

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