Thursday, September 09, 2010

Japan spends the least on education among OECD countries

In the latest report, Japan is one of the 28 members of the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) that spends very small for education. While other OECD members spend an average of 4.8% of its gross domestic product for public education, Japan spends only 3.3%. This could put Japan in an unfortunate situation because the world is getting highly competitive these days. Continue reading below.

Japan again lowest in education spending among OECD nations

TOKYO (Kyodo) -- Japan again had the smallest expenditure on education in 2007 among the 28 member countries of the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development in terms of the ratio of such state spending to gross domestic product, an OECD report said Tuesday.

Following 2003 and 2005, the nation's ratio was the lowest in the year with 3.3 percent. Japan was also the second lowest in 2004 and 2006 in the annual OECD studies. For the latest ranking, comparable data were available among the 28 nations out of the OECD's 32 members.

Since the result for 2007 was compiled during the rule by the Liberal Democratic Party-led government, it does not reflect any effects of the Democratic Party of Japan's measures to beef up public education.

The DPJ, which took power last September, said in its annual policy platform for 2009, which was issued separately from election campaign pledges, that it will aim to raise the spending ratio to 5.0 percent or higher and waived public senior high school tuition in April this year.

The latest OECD report showed that the average ratio of such public spending-to-GDP among the 28 countries was 4.8 percent, with Iceland ranking highest at 7.0 percent, followed by Denmark's 6.6 percent and Sweden's 6.1 percent.

The second lowest after Japan was Slovakia's 3.4 percent and the third lowest was Chile's 3.7 percent.

In a press briefing, an OECD official said there is a possibility that Japan's spending ratio may improve, but that it is unclear how far it can go up in the ranking as other countries have also increased their respective public spending.

At the elementary and junior high school levels, Japan's spending to GDP ratio came to 2.5 percent, the second lowest along with Czech Republic, while the ratio was 0.5 percent, also the second lowest, at the senior high school levels.

In terms of the ratio of private investments to all education expenditures, however, Japan posted 33.3 percent, the fourth largest after South Korea, Chile and the United States.

By educational level, Japan's private spending on college education accounted for 67.5 percent, compared with an average 30.9 percent, while spending on kindergarten was 56.2 percent, compared with 20.3 percent.

The result highlighted that Japanese households had to make higher investments on education due to low public spending.

The OECD also said the number of students per class at Japanese junior high schools was 33.0, the second biggest among 23 member nations for which comparable data are available.

(Mainichi Japan) September 8, 2010

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