12 September 2012
OECD report shows NZ spends less than average on our students
An international report shows that New Zealand spends just under the OECD average on educating students in primary
schools through to tertiary institutions yet our level of student achievement is near the top of the OECD.
The Education at a Glance 2012 report provides a snapshot of global education and compares the investment in education
by countries within the OECD.
The report shows that most European countries, as well as Japan, are ahead of New Zealand. Countries that spend less
than New Zealand include Chile and Mexico.
“What’s interesting is that despite our moderate spending, New Zealand remains near the top of the OECD in student
achievement in literacy, numeracy and science,” says NZEI National President Ian Leckie.
“That is obviously a credit to our curriculum and high quality teaching,” he says.
“Once again, this is another indication that we get very good value from our teachers and that we achieve great results
despite the moderate amount of public spending in our schools and tertiary institutions.”
However, the report also shows that compared with other aspects of public expenditure within New Zealand, our percentage
of public spending on education is one of the highest in the world.
But Mr Leckie says the key contributor to that figure is the billions of dollars of outstanding student loans.
“It would be entirely wrong to claim student loans as part of core spending on public education.”
The OECD report has urged governments to invest more in early childhood programmes, ensure that the cost of higher
education is reasonable and to increase social mobility.
The report says having schools made up of students from mixed social backgrounds, and putting children into formal
education early has a big impact on improving equality in education.