Crisis hit countries cut down public spending on education

Androulla Vassiliou, Member of the EC in charge of Education, Culture, Multilingualism and Youth delivered a speach at the debate entitled 'The Crisis in Europe and the Future of Higher Engineering Education', co-organised by the European Society for Engineering Education and the Greek Presidency. (from left to right) Kamel Hawwash, President of the European Society for Engineering Education (SEFI) and Professor in the School of Civil Engineering at the University of Birmingham, Androulla Vassiliou and Antonia Moropoulou, Vice President of SEFI and Professor at the National Technical University of Athens, School of Chemical Engineering, Section of Materials Science and Engineering. (EC Audiovisual Services, 07/04/2014).

Androulla Vassiliou, Member of the EC in charge of Education, Culture, Multilingualism and Youth delivered a speach at the debate entitled ‘The Crisis in Europe and the Future of Higher Engineering Education’, co-organised by the European Society for Engineering Education and the Greek Presidency. (from left to right) Kamel Hawwash, President of the European Society for Engineering Education (SEFI) and Professor in the School of Civil Engineering at the University of Birmingham, Androulla Vassiliou and Antonia Moropoulou, Vice President of SEFI and Professor at the National Technical University of Athens, School of Chemical Engineering, Section of Materials Science and Engineering. (EC Audiovisual Services, 07/04/2014).

Despite an almost continuous but very moderate increase of government spending on education in absolute (euro) terms during the 2002-2012 decade the amount of public resources devoted to this end as a percentage of GPD either stagnated (2002-2007) or decreased (2009-2012), with the exception of a brief period between 2007-2009. During those three years educational spending rose by half a percentage unit of GDP. According to Eurostat, the EU statistical service, “In 2012, EU-27 total general government expenditure amounted to 49.4 % of GDP. Based on the latest available expenditure data by economic function for 2012, 5.3% of GDP was devoted to expenditure on education. Of this, the highest shares were dedicated to ‘secondary education’ at 1.9% of GDP and ‘pre-primary and primary education’ at 1.7% of GDP”.

As expected government spending on education was higher in countries with strong and wealthy economies and much lower in the poorer EU member states. It’s difficult to distinguish which of the two facts is the cause and which is the effect. Low educational investments lead to future poorness or present poorness is the cause of low educational spending? In any case it is certain that high educational expenditure yields the largest future returns.

Cause and effect

Eurostat found that “As a ratio to GDP, the highest levels of government expenditure on education among the reporting countries were found in Denmark (7.9 % of GDP), Sweden (6.8 % of GDP) and Cyprus (6.7 % of GDP), while the lowest ratios were recorded in Romania (3.0 % of GDP), Bulgaria (3.5 % of GDP) and Slovakia (3.9 % of GDP). As far as EFTA countries are concerned, the highest value was recorded in Iceland (8% of GDP)”.

In 2012, education had the highest weight in total government expenditure in Estonia (16.2% of total expenditure), followed by Lithuania (15.5%) and Latvia (15%). Apart from the EU Member States, Iceland recorded the highest value (16.9% of total expenditure). Eurostat observes that “The countries devoting a higher proportion of total general government expenditure to education tend to be those where total general government expenditure to GDP is relatively low”.

A positive correlation must be also present between educational spending as a percentage of GDP and overall wealth. Not surprisingly, “The lowest weights of general government expenditure on education in total general government expenditure were recorded in Greece (7.7% of total expenditure), Italy and Romania (both 8.2% of total expenditure). The same logic seems to apply in the relation between government expenditure on education as a ratio to GDP and total national income. Expenditure decreased slightly from 2011 to 2012, continuing the trend started in 2009 (crisis years, falling overall incomes). In particular, the biggest decreases in terms of GDP were observed in Romania (-1.1% of GDP), Portugal (-0.9% of GDP), Cyprus (-0.5% of GDP) and Hungary (-0.4% of GDP).

Easy victim

This is an unfortunate finding. A fall in total national income due to the financial crisis should not have led to a fall of expenditure on education as a ratio of GDP. Yet this proved to be the case. The obvious reason is that during the crisis years governments tended to cut those expenses, which had the lowest direct and less visible impact on present welfare. Educational expenditure was the first candidate for the ‘butchery’. In reality politicians didn’t care if this behavior severely undermined incomes and overall competitiveness of the economy in the long-term.

It’s a pity to watch politicians having a time horizon ending at the next election, usually a few years, while Peoples and countries have time horizons spanning many centuries. It takes a very strong political altruism and long-term vision in order to try and make the two horizons coincide.

Advertising

Advertising

Advertising

Advertising

Advertising

Advertising

the sting Milestone

Featured Stings

Can we feed everyone without unleashing disaster? Read on

These campaigners want to give a quarter of the UK back to nature

How to build a more resilient and inclusive global system

Stopping antimicrobial resistance would cost just USD 2 per person a year

The fatal consequences of troika’s blind austerity policy

Thursday’s Daily Brief: Poverty report reveals ‘vast inequalities’, measles compounds DRC Ebola woes, Guterres visits Mozambique, Bangladesh update, freedom of expression online

How Japan became the world leader in floating solar power

We need a global convention to end workplace sexual harassment

Medical research: between progress and speculation

Marginalized groups hit hardest by inequality and stigma in cities

Can Eurozone stand economic and financial fragmentation?

Brexit: Ensuring a smooth transition for car producers and safety on the roads

Joint EU-U.S. statement following the EU-U.S. Justice and Home Affairs Ministerial Meeting

Merkel, Mercedes and Volkswagen to abolish European democracy

As many as 330,000 displaced by heavy fighting in south-west Syria – UN agency

How can the EU hit net-zero emissions?

How one traumatised child survived genocide and started a movement for mental health

Copyright: MEPs back provisional agreement

‘Alarming levels’ of methamphetamine trafficking in Asia’s Mekong, UN warns

Chart of the day: This is what violence does to a nation’s GDP

FROM THE FIELD: ‘Blue’ finance flows in the Seychelles

‘Leaders who sanction hate speech’ encourage citizens to do likewise, UN communications chief tells Holocaust remembrance event

Africa shouldn’t have to choose between high growth and low emissions

Strengthen inclusion, participation of people with autism to ‘achieve their full potential’ says UN chief

Energy: new ambitious targets on renewables and energy efficiency

OECD Secretary-General Gurría welcomes announcement of new trade agreement between the US, Mexico and Canada

Countries urged to make ‘digital world’ safer for children

Two-thirds of employees would trust a robot boss more than a real one

Practicing healthcare through a global lens

Boris as UK Premier to be cornered if attempting a no-deal Brexit

Alarm over violent attacks on lawmakers, opposition in Malawi, ahead of elections

The European giant tourism sector in constant growth

China is now heavily endorsing its big investment flow in the Central Eastern European (CEE) countries

Three ways Finland leads the world – and education isn’t one of them

Trust links up supply chains. How do you establish it in the digital era?

EU’s new environmental policy on biofuels impacts both the environment and the European citizen

South Sudan: UN calls for end to inter-communal clashes, attacks against aid workers

Summer JADE Meeting 2015: We came curious, we left inspired

3 charts to help you understand the American shale boom

UN mourns death of former Secretary-General Kofi Annan, ‘a guiding force for good’

Any doubt?

Easing funding woes for UN agency assisting Palestine refugees a ‘wise investment for today and the future’

EU allocates €50 million to fight Ebola and malnutrition in the Democratic Republic of Congo

This company grows crops inside, stacked on top of one another

Can the EU last long if it cuts Cyprus out?

These are the world’s safest cities

More progress needed on reducing and redesigning agricultural support policies

Why we need artists who strive for social change

The US will impose tariffs on Mexico, says President Trump

Maduro ‘brings the truth’ about Venezuela to UN Assembly; says he is ready to meet US President Trump

Growth is running out of steam. How do we prepare for the next crisis?

Four lessons from Africa on building effective business ecosystems

DR Congo: days ahead ‘critical’ to ‘historic election process’ Security Council hears

FROM THE FIELD: ‘Harvested’ rainwater saves Tanzanian students from stomach ulcers, typhoid

#TwitterisblockedinTurkey and so is Erdogan

Trade: EU-Singapore agreement to enter into force on 21 November 2019

After globalization what? Europe’s long, straining shake-up post Davos wreckage

Code of Practice against disinformation: Commission calls on signatories to intensify their efforts

Syrian Government’s ‘different understanding’ of UN role, a ‘very serious challenge’ – Special Envoy

New Erasmus: more opportunities for disadvantaged youth

This forgotten element could be the key to our green energy future. Here’s why

UN chief expresses solidarity with Indonesian authorities after flash floods kill dozens in Papua

German banks suffer of nausea amidst rough seas

If you build it, they will come: Why infrastructure is crucial to tourism growth and competitiveness

More Stings?

Speak your Mind Here

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s