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Australians pay more for education than the OECD average - but is it worth it?

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Australians value education, so when looking at the OECD’s Education at a Glance 2017 report, it’s not surprising to see we spend more on education than average among comparable nations.

However, it’s worth noting where the money comes from. A closer look at the data shows public funding for education in Australia is much less than the OECD average, with private funders (including families and students) footing the rest of the bill. When combining both public and private funding sources, our overall spending on education is 5.8% of GDP from primary to tertiary levels. As our Federal Education Minister has been quick to note, this is more than the OECD average of 5.2%. However, when looking at public expenditure, Australia, at 3.9% of GDP, is well below most OECD countries.

Government spending on education increased by 6% from 2010 to 2014, but total government expenditure for all services increased by 18% over this time. So, in relative terms, expenditure on education as a proportion of all government expenditure has decreased.

Why does Australia rely so much on private sources to fund education, and are we getting enough for what we pay?

Early childhood education and care (ECEC) in Australia is disproportionately funded by private sources compared to most OECD countries. One third........

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