Aussie teachers paid 9% below cost of living while budget spend per child increases 4%

In light of the OECD recently releasing their latest ‘Education At A Glance’ report, Teaching Abroad Direct analysed trends in education spending per child across 43 nations since 2010.

According to the findings, teachers in Australia are paid 9% less than the average local cost of living, putting it in 13th place globally, while Australian students have seen a 4% rise in spend from US$9720 in 2010 to US$11,270. 

The teaching salary index notes that New Zealand teachers have an average salary at 7% under the local GDP (PPP), the 8th highest in the world, this is slightly worse in Australia, at 9% under GDP, which sits at 13th position out of the top 100 developed nations in the world. Compare this to somewhere like China and teachers fare relatively well, with the average salary 44% above the local GDP, however, spend per student there is much lower although this has increased 21% since 2010.

Using OECD and 25 other government and data body reports, Teaching Abroad Direct has analysed the spending per child of 43 nations since 2010, adjusted in relation to GDP (PPP), to highlight the nations spending the most and least per child across the world. 

Andrew Lynch, Director of Teaching Abroad Direct, comments:

With Australia spending $1,332 more per student, but paying their teachers slightly less in regards to living standards, student experience is being put before teaching costs, the opposite of New Zealand’s model.

“Despite this, both countries see a very similar standard in teaching and levels of pay for their educators, and pay well when compared to the global average.”

“Australia and New Zealand were ranked 21st and 22nd respectively in terms of the increase in government spending on mandatory education in the analysis of student budgets around the world. Australian students have seen a 4% rise in their spend, from $9,720 in 2010 to $11,270 in the most recent figures, which is also adjusted for inflation. 

“There was also a similar 4% annual rise for the New Zealand education system, with the figure increasing from $8,360 to $9.937 in most recent official figures. Students in countries such as the United Kingdom, Germany, and Switzerland were granted greater increases over the corresponding period. China led the way, with a 21% increase from $682 in 2010 to $2,414 in 2017.

Teaching Abroad Direct’s study also found:

  • New Zealand spends $9,937 (USD) per child in mandatory education
  • Latest figures reveal New Zealand provides the 19th largest budget per student in the world
  • Since 2013, New Zealand’s budget per student has increased by $1,577 (USD) 
  • Australia allocates $11,270 (USD) per student, $1,333 more than New Zealand
  • Luxembourg, Austria, Norway are the 3 biggest investors per pupil, according to the latest figures
  • China has increased year-on-year spending the most per student, increasing 21% per year on average

“Investing in education is a must for any economy, helping to provide the next generation with skills to make them attractive in the future jobs market while providing jobs to teachers and various support staff,” Mr Lynch remarked.

“As the results of our study show, investment in education globally is increasing, with many nations adjusting their spend by between 3% – 4%. However, despite these increases, there are still challenges being faced by schools and teachers – just 5 nations pay teachers above the local average ‘cost of living’ – so we would implore policymakers and public spending advisers to consider increasing their education spending, where possible.”

“It’s also important for all in education to have a better global understanding of the changing shape of education around the world and the different levels of financial support teachers have to deal with.”

You can see the full study here: 

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