Schools

New OECD report reveals the real cost of Morrison govt education cuts

September 12, 2018

Australian teachers are teaching larger classes and working significantly more hours than their colleagues overseas, while public funding for education as a percentage of total government expenditure is falling, according to a new report.

The Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) 2018 Education at a Glance report has revealed that the Australian education sector falls below OECD averages in terms of public education funding, access to early childhood education, class sizes and teacher workload.

In a media release earlier today, Australian Education Union Federal President Correna Haythorpe said that the heavy workloads experienced by Australian teachers would mean they had less time to devote to students who need extra support.

Amongst other findings from the OECD report:

  • Public funding of education in Australia was 9.3 per cent of total government expenditure in 2015, compared to the 2015 OECD average of 11 per cent. Australia’s percentage fell from 10.6 per cent to 9.3 per cent between 2005-2015
  • Only 64 per cent of 3-year olds were enrolled in early-childhood education and care (ECEC) services in 2016, 12 percentage points less than the OECD average of 76 per cent.
  • However, enrolment rate in ECEC and primary education for 4-year-olds increased from 51 per cent to 91 per cent between 2005 and 2016 and is now above the OECD average of 88 per cent.
  • Annual expenditure per child on pre-primary education was at $7097 USD, below the OECD average of $8426 USD
  • In 2015, the share of private education funding for schools in Australia was higher than in all other OECD countries at 19 per cent, compared to the OECD average of 8 per cent
  • The sources of funding for Australian education institutions have changed over time. Between 2005 and 2015, public expenditure’s share of total expenditure on institutions declined from 73 per cent to 66 per cent
  • Teachers in Australia at the primary and secondary school level have face-to-face teaching times which are far above the OECD average.
  • In 2017, net teaching time for Australian primary teachers per year was 865 hours, compared to the OECD average of 778 hours
  • In 2016, the average class size in an Australian primary school was 24 students, compared to OECD average of 21 students

“This latest OECD report reinforces the urgency and importance of the Fair Funding Now campaign,” said Federation President Maurie Mulheron.