Value for Money in School Education

Smart Investments, Quality Outcomes, Equal Opportunities

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Policymaking has always been a matter of making choices, managing trade-offs and balancing multiple goals and priorities to make complex budgetary decisions. Yet, the past few years have seen a rising number of priorities facing policymakers, hence mounting pressure to enhance the efficiency of public spending. There is a strong case for public investment in high-quality education as it leads to a range of economic outcomes as well as broader social outcomes for both individuals and society. But while high-quality education will continue to enable individuals and societies to thrive and recover from disruptions, education ministries will need to rethink the way they invest in education to ensure that education systems deliver greater value for money. Following an introduction laying out the context, this publication first takes stock of the wealth of economic returns and broader social outcomes derived from high-quality education, making the case for continued public investment. It then turns to the examination of smart ways of investing in education and examines key policy levers that can help enhance value for money: governing and distributing school funding to make the most of education investments; achieving educational equity alongside greater efficiency; and planning, monitoring and evaluating the efficient use of school funding.

English Also available in: French

The importance of human capital for economic outcomes

Human capital is widely regarded as a fundamental input in growth theory. Furthermore, recommendations to boost human capital feature prominently among structural policy priorities identified by the OECD for a number of countries. However, the empirical evidence linking human capital with macroeconomic outcomes has been problematic. This chapter first provides an overview of the role of human capital in determining economic outcomes and reviews existing evidence on this topic. It then presents a new measure of human capital based on OECD education data surveys, which better incorporates both quality and quantity dimensions. Drawing on the proposed measure of human capital, this chapter suggests a substantial scope for long‑run productivity gains from human capital, with a larger effect from quality as compared to quantity improvements, although the lags are typically much longer than for other policies that boost productivity.

English Also available in: French


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