Education at a Glance: OECD Indicators is the authoritative source for accurate information on the state of education around the world. It provides data on the output of educational institutions; the impact of learning across countries; the financial and human resources invested in education; access, participation and progression in education; and the learning environment and organisation of schools.
The 2015 edition introduces more detailed analysis of participation in early childhood and tertiary levels of education. The report also examines first generation tertiary-educated adults’ educational and social mobility, labour market outcomes for recent graduates, and participation in employer-sponsored formal and/or non-formal education. Readiness to use information and communication technology for problem solving in teaching and learning is also examined. The publication provides indicators on the impact of skills on employment and earnings, gender differences in education and employment, and teacher and school leader appraisal systems. For the first time, this edition includes highlights of each indicator inside the book. The report covers all 34 OECD countries and a number of partner countries (Argentina, Brazil, China, Colombia, India, Indonesia, Latvia, Russian Federation, Saudi Arabia and South Africa, and for the first time, Costa Rica and Lithuania).
The Excel™ spreadsheets used to create the tables and charts in Education at a Glance are available via the StatLinks provided throughout the publication.
- 24 Nov 2015
Indicator B7 Which Factors Influence the Level of Expenditure on Education?
Indicator B7 measures the impact of student instruction time, teachers’ teaching time, teachers’ salaries and class size on the levels of expenditure on primary and secondary education.
Four factors influence expenditure on education related to the salary cost of teachers per student: instruction time of students, teaching time of teachers, teachers’ salaries and estimated class size. Consequently, a given level of the salary cost of teachers per student may result from different combinations of these four factors.
In most countries, the salary cost of teachers per student increases with the level of education.
Between 2010 and 2013, the salary cost of teachers per student increased in a majority of countries at the primary and lower secondary levels of education. On average, it increased by 2.6% (from USD 2 550 to USD 2 616) at the primary level and by 1.0% (from USD 3 185 to USD 3 215) at the lower secondary level.
Countries are ranked in descending order of the salary cost of teachers per student in lower secondary education.
Source: OECD. Table B7.1. See Annex 3 for notes (www.oecd.org/education/education-at-a-glance-19991487.htm).
ContextExpand / Collapse
Governments have become increasingly interested in the relationship between the amount of resources devoted to education and student learning outcomes. Governments seek to provide more and better education for their populations while, at the same time, ensuring that public funding is used efficiently, particularly when public budgets are being tightened. Teachers’ compensation is usually the largest part of expenditure on education and thus of expenditure per student (see Indicator B6). The salary cost of teachers is a function of the instruction time of students, the teaching time of teachers, teachers’ salaries and the number of teachers needed to teach students, which depends on estimated class size (Box B7.1).
Differences among countries in these four factors may explain differences in the level of expenditure per student. Similarly, a given level of expenditure may be associated with different combinations of these factors. This indicator examines the choices countries make when investing their resources in primary and secondary education, and explores how changing policy choices between 2005, 2010 and 2013 relating to these four factors affected the salary cost of teachers. However, some of these choices do not necessary reflect policy decisions but, rather, demographic changes, such as shrinking numbers of students. Thus, for example, in countries where enrolments have been declining in recent years, class size would also shrink (assuming all other factors remain constant), unless there was a simultaneous drop in the number of teachers as well.
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Similar levels of expenditure among countries can mask a variety of contrasting policy choices. This helps to explain why there is no simple relationship between overall spending on education and the level of student performance. For example, at the upper secondary level of education, Austria and Canada had similar levels of salary costs of teachers per student in 2013, above the average. In Austria, this was the result of the combination of above-average teachers’ salaries and instruction time, and below-average teaching time and estimated class size. In Canada, it was mostly the result of above-average teachers’ salaries and, to a lesser extent, of below-average estimated class size, whose effects were slightly counterbalanced by above-average teaching time and below-average instruction time.
Teachers’ salaries are most often the primary factor influencing the difference from the average salary cost of teachers per student at each level of education; estimated class size is the second factor.
When differences in countries’ wealth are taken into account, teachers’ salaries are less often the primary factor influencing the difference from the average salary cost of teachers per student.
TrendsExpand / Collapse
The increase in the salary cost of teachers per student between 2010 and 2013 was mostly influenced by changes in two factors: teachers’ salaries and estimated class size. During this period, among countries with available data for both years, teachers’ salaries decreased by an average of less than 1% at the primary and lower secondary levels, while estimated class size decreased by 1% at the primary level and increased by more than 10% at the lower secondary level. Variations in the other two factors, instruction time and teaching time, are usually smaller in most countries, but the average is influenced by large variations in some countries. Teaching time at the lower secondary level varied the most during the period, and increased, on average, by 2.9% among countries with available data for both years.
At the primary and lower secondary levels of education, a similar number of countries increased and decreased teachers’ salaries and/or estimated class size between 2010 and 2013. These changes resulted in an increase in the salary cost per student in the majority of countries and on average across countries with available data for both years. However, the salary cost per student decreased in some countries during this period, most significantly (by around 15% or more) in Portugal and Spain at both primary and lower secondary levels. In both of these countries, decreases in teachers’ salaries combined with increases in estimated class size are the main reasons for decreases in the salary cost of teachers per student. Some other countries also introduced reforms since 2005 that affected the salary cost of teachers per student. For instance, in Hungary, teaching time was increased at the secondary level in 2006, decreasing the number of teachers required at this level. That, in turn, reduced expenditure on teachers’ salaries. Italy implemented reforms on class size to increase slightly the number of students per class. This resulted in a decrease in the salary cost of teachers per student (see Table B7.5 in Education at a Glance 2012 [OECD, 2012]).