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

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

COVID-19 Update: Solidarity and Joint Efforts Shall be the Main Theme For China and Europe in the Fight Against the Outbreak

We need to change the fast fashion model. Here’s how

‘Habitual residence’ rules deprive EU workers from social benefits

Negative inflation hits Eurozone, ECB to print and distribute one trillion euro earlier than expected

At this Italian bookshop, children swap their recycling for something to read

‘Stay together and step up’ action to meet Global Goals, ECOSOC President tells development forum

EU mobilises €10 million more to respond to severe Desert Locust outbreak in East Africa

Countdown To GSMA Mobile World Congress Shanghai 2018 Is On

UN study projects $32 billion loss for UK post no-deal Brexit

Barriers to trade: as protectionism rises, EU continues opening up export markets for European firms

The UN went to one of the world’s richest countries to look at poverty – this is what it found

UN welcomes Angola’s repeal of anti-gay law, and ban on discrimination based on sexual orientation

Assembly of European Regions @ European Business Summit 2014: The European regions on the path to recovery

Ethiopia will soon introduce visa-free travel for all Africans

Working with millennials, leaders say humility works better than bossing around

Turkey remains numb while its economy is expected to shrink further due to a cocktail of EU and US sanctions

‘Working night and day’, UN health agency seeks to prevent global coronavirus crisis

Managers’ pay under fire

MWC 2016 Live: Mobile ad industry still waiting for “revolution”

COVID-19: MEPs fear impact on justice system and threat to rule of law

The G7 should take the lead on ocean targets for 2020

China-EU Special Report: Chinese Premier Li Keqiang endorses China’s big investment on Juncker’s plan at 10th China-EU Business Summit

FROM THE FIELD: Persons with disabilities bike towards sustainability

David Attenborough’s worried about this ocean threat – and it’s not plastic

Yemen bus attack just the latest outrage against civilians: UN agencies

Eurozone: Uncertain future with unemployment ravaging the South

UN expert condemns new sentence for jailed Venezuelan judge as ‘another instance of reprisal’

This is the life of a refugee: the constant destruction and construction of dreams every day

How to survive the COVID-19 lockdown with a newborn baby

IMF asks Europe to decide on bank resolutions and the Greek Gordian knot

Children suffering ‘atrocities’ as number of countries in conflict hits new peak: UNICEF

Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning: “Am I a real Boy?”

These are the countries best prepared for the fight against cancer

As fighting in Libya escalates, so does number of children ‘at imminent risk of injury or death’

Building cybersecurity capacity through benchmarking: the Global Cybersecurity Index

EU is now giving Google new monopolies to the detriment of European citizens and Internet companies

Migration Crisis: how to open the borders and make way for the uprooted

Reduce costs, save lives: how healthcare data can help emerging economies

Horn of Africa: UN chief welcomes Djibouti agreement between Eritrea, Ethiopia and Somalia

‘Terminator’ warlord Bosco Ntaganda sentenced to 30 years in prison for DR Congo atrocities

G20 LIVE: “Re-envisioning the economy to enable women to reach their full potential” live from Antalya Turkey

It is me

5 things you need to know about your microbiome

European Youth Forum and youngest MEPs call on President Juncker to keep his promise to Europe’s youth

G20 told crucial COP24 climate change conference ‘must succeed’: Guterres

The European Sting Cookie Policy

FROM THE FIELD: Sailing a traditional and sustainable path in Fiji’s tropical waters

‘Forgotten crisis’ in Cameroon, with attacks on the rise, millions in need of ‘lifesaving assistance’

A Sting Exclusive: why the environment is important to your health, by UNEP’s Head for Europe

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

COP21 Breaking News: Paris Pact on Water and Climate Change Adaptation Announced

Customs Union: Fake and potentially dangerous goods worth nearly €740 million stopped at EU customs in 2018

UN emissions report: World on course for more than 3 degree spike, even if climate commitments are met

Brexit talks stalled at launch; issues with European Court’s authority in Britain

FROM THE FIELD: Weather reports come to aid of Uganda’s farmers

Migrant caravan: UN agency helping ‘exhausted’ people home

‘Terror and panic’ among Rohingya who may be forced to return to Myanmar – UN rights chief

The Amazon is reaching a dangerous tipping-point. We need to scale solutions now if we have any chance of saving it

5 things you probably didn’t know about global health

The EU Commission by serving the banks offers poor support to European mainstream political parties

More Stings?

Advertising

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