By Wendy Andersen
‘STILL room for improvement’, the report card might read.
But it has emerged that Spain is, at least, going in the right direction as far as school spending is concerned.
According to a new OECD report the country is above average for both junior and secondary school spending… and even pips the UK for the latter!
However, despite seeing considerable improvement over recent years, the in-depth study warns that the government must do something about the unusually high drop-out rate.
It also warns there is a big lack of apprenticeship opportunities for young people and a serious need to improve access to tertiary education.
It cites the lack of public loans for most higher education courses and, although not excessively high, university fees.
It reports that while there are subsidies available for low income families, a student loan system is necessary for general access to university education.
Spending remains above average for the 34 members of the Convention on the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD).
At primary school level, Spain came in at 16th place, spending on average $7,184 per student, behind the UK’s average of $8,758 – both beat the OECD average of $7,153.
For secondary level (instituto and bachillerato) Spain spent an average $9,792 per student, coming in above the UK, at $9,487. Both were above the OECD average of $8,972.
Top spenders were Luxembourg, Norway and Switzerland.
How Spain can do better – the key OECD recommendations
• Continue investing in early childhood education, especially coverage for the most deprived sectors.
• Increase the proportion of students graduating from upper secondary education through early interventions in primary and lower-secondary
• Make vocational training more attractive
• Help schools be effective by giving them greater autonomy, especially in decisions on teacher hiring and course content
• Introduce a student loan system related to family income
• Link universities’ financing more closely to outcomes to give them greater independence, especially in setting pay and working conditions