Skills beyond school

Education Trends in Perspective: Analysis of the World Education Indicators -- 2005 Edition


Chapter 1 | Chapter 2 | Country profilesHow to order

The objectives of the WEI programme are to: explore education indicator methodologies; reach consensus on a set of common policy concerns amenable to cross-national comparison and agree upon a set of key indicators that reflect these concerns; review methods and data collection instruments needed to develop these measures; and set the direction for further developmental work and analysis beyond this initial set of indicators.

This report marks the eighth year of this on-going collaborative effort. During this time, participating countries have advanced the conceptual and developmental work in many different ways. They have applied the WEI data collection instruments and methodology at the national level. In collaboration with the OECD and UNESCO, they have co-operated in national, regional and international meetings of experts, and worked jointly on the development of the indicators, in areas such as governance, teachers and financial investments in education.

This report is the fourth in a series that analyses indicators on key education policy issues, bringing together data from participating countries with comparable data from OECD countries. It focuses on trends in education between 1995 and 2003, identifying which countries have made progress and the contextual and policy factors that have contributed to the different educational outcomes. It explores how school-age populations and participation and graduation rates in education, especially at secondary and tertiary levels, have changed since 1995 and it looks at the factors that act as constraints to growth. It links changes in demand for education with trends in investments of human and financial resources in education and how they relate to the quantity and quality of educational provision. It looks beyond public education systems and discusses change in terms of the range of public and private actors that are involved in the finance and governance of education.

Publication Date: 26/10/2005
ISBN: 9264013601
232 pages

Chapter 1 - Trends in Education Participation and Outputs

The expansion of educational systems is a process that needs to be monitored carefully. Rapid growth can overcome existing infrastructures and negatively affect the quality of learning outcomes. The goal is not only to expand student numbers but to develop more efficient, effective and equitable systems. It is also important to distinguish between the different educational levels where expansion takes place. Universal primary education has been nearly achieved in most WEI countries and there are a wide range of policy aims and cost differentials in expanding educational opportunities before or after basic schooling.

Maintaining an even distribution of expansion across different education levels is considered important to sustainable improvements  but can be difficult given changes in school-age population and variation in costs. For example, the annual public expenditure for one tertiary student is equal to that for 10 upper secondary students in Brazil and the total annual expenditure on 11 primary pupils in Indonesia is equivalent to 3.5 secondary students or 1 tertiary student.

With such large differences in costs the question thus arises, of who should play a role in financing the expansion of education. The provision and financing of basic or compulsory education for all children is traditionally seen as an important role of the state, while at other levels, more emphasis is placed on private governance and sources of funding.

The chapter touches upon these issues as it examines the change in demand for education in WEI countries since 1995. First, it compares changes in educational attainment among populations and subgroups between 1995 and 2003 and examines of the implications of educational attainment as a measure of human capital. The chapter also assesses changes in the overall volume of educational provision as measured by the indicator school life expectancy, a measure which summarises participation across the educational system. The chapter also examines the demographic context in countries and the extent to which population growth contributes to demand for education and how it constrains expanding coverage of educational systems. The chapter also looks at changes in participation and completion rates by education level since 1995 – or the proportion of children of the relevant age that are enrolled or graduate. Finally the chapter examines public and private roles in the provision of education and its expansion and addresses gender issues related to participation by educational level.


Chapter 2 - Responding to Increased Participation: Trends in Resources Invested in Education

This second chapter explores the way financial and human resources devoted to education have evolved in WEI countries between 1995 and 2003 in order to respond to the increased demands on education systems. Yet, trends in the allocation of human and financial resources to education cannot be interpreted in isolation from the economic and social contexts in which education developments took place. This is especially true given that the period under scrutiny – 1995 to 2003 – was a period of economic turmoil and volatile social trends for many WEI countries.

This chapter also reviews major trends in educational expenditure. It examines trends in public and private spending in relation to the key economic and social developments that shape them, in order to assess to what extent trends in education finance can be explained by broader economic and social trends. It also looks at  trends in education finance in relation to trends in enrolments at different levels of education and in relation to changes in participation patterns and the role of private providers of education.


Country Profiles

The profile for the WEI countries (Argentina, Brazil, Chile, China, Egypt, India, Indonesia, Jamaica, Jordan, Malaysia, Paraguay, Peru, the Philippines, the Russian Federation, Sri Lanka, Thailand, Tunisia, Uruguay and Zimbabwe) is comprised of a statistical chart and a one-page analytical text. Together they provide a snapshot of the current education system and changes since the mid-1990s.

Each chart has two parts:

  • key indicators on the current situation with comparisons to other WEI countries, and the WEI and OECD means;
  • key indicators that track changes since the mid-1990s, where data are available, along with comparisons to other WEI countries.

The indicators focus primarily on upper secondary education and education finance. The text, prepared with the collaboration of UNESCO and country representatives, provides contextual information and interprets the data.

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