Colombia spend more than the European Union on education

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Luxembourg leads the way on education spending on a per-student basis, followed by the US and Sweden, according to a recent report from the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD). Across the OECD, annual spending per student from primary to tertiary education averaged around US$10,500, with the smallest expenditure at roughly $3,600 a student in Colombia and Mexico but Colombia spend most on education than the EU average.

Different levels of expenditure on education can reflect governments’ priorities. OECD countries spend around 18% more per secondary student than they do per primary student, the report shows.

But some invest more per primary student, including Chile, Iceland and the UK, even though teachers’ salaries often increase in line with the level of education.

Image: OECD

The OECD also ranks countries based on the percentage of their total government expenditure on education.

Chile tops this list, followed by Mexico, Brazil, New Zealand and Switzerland.

Aside from measures of total spending, it’s useful to consider broader metrics of skills and how future-proof different countries are. One of the pillars of the World Economic Forum’s Global Competitiveness Report looks at how prepared workforces are.

Switzerland has “outstanding” human capital, according to the index, coming top in the world for vocational training, on-the-job training and employability of graduates. That, combined with its well-functioning labour market, means it is well placed to adapt to the disruptions brought about by the Fourth Industrial Revolution, the report says.

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