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

Advertising

Advertising

Advertising

Advertising

Advertising

Advertising

Advertising

the European Sting Milestones

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

From Israel’s ‘start-up nation’, 4 lessons in innovation

Syria: Why did the US now take the Russian offer for a truce? What next?

Sudzha gas metering station at Russian-Ukrainian border (Copyright: Gazprom, 2015 / Gazprom’s website, Media)

Gazprom starts suspending gas contracts with Ukraine as Brussels fears limited transit to Europe

EU summit: No energy against tax evasion and fraud

EU and China resolve amicably solar panel trade dispute

Schools in Florida now have to teach mental and emotional health

How each country’s share of global CO2 emissions changes over time

The AI doctor won’t see you now

Bangladesh: Head of UN refugee agency calls on Asia-Pacific leaders to show ‘solidarity’ with Rohingya refugees

Main results of G20 summit in Buenos Aires, Argentina

A Sting Exclusive: “Digital and mobile technologies are helping to achieve an economic success in Spain”, the Spanish Secretary of State for Telecommunications and Information Society Víctor Calvo-Sotelo reveals to the Sting at Mobile World Congress 2015

ECB with an iron hand disciplines the smaller Eurozone member states; latest victim: Greece

This is how companies are working together to create a world without waste

European Commission adopts rules to ensure a smooth transition to its next President and the next College of Commissioners

Eurozone: Retail sales betray economic frailty

Systems leadership can change the world – but what exactly is it?

Statement on the Code of Practice against disinformation: Commission asks online platforms to provide more details on progress made

Will the three major parties retain control of the new EU Parliament?

Help prevent children ‘from becoming victims in the first place’, implores Guterres at campaign launch

Commission to decide on bank resolution issues

Business should be joyful – just ask the sports world

Colombia offers nationality rights to Venezuelan children born there: UN hails ‘very important step’

Is the European Banking Union an impossible task?

Crimea, a wicked game of political chess and a ‘big’ coincidence

Tackling the toxic norms that hold women back in Asia

Nearly 900 reportedly killed following ‘shocking’ intercommunal attacks in DR Congo

France pushes UK to stay and Germany to pay

Have Europe’s Ukrainian wounds begun to heal?

Mother of all mergers between Facebook Messenger, WhatsApp and Instagram: EU Data Privacy restrictions against Facebook’s imperialistic plans

COP21 Paris: The Final Agreement Adopted-full text

What Ghana can teach us about integrating refugees

Eurozone: The cycle of deficits, debts and austerity revisited

Flexible jobs can make work-life balance worse, a German study finds

Two shipwrecks add to ‘alarming increase’ in migrant deaths off Libya coast: IOM

Restrictions, unmet promises, unbridled violence in Sudan, a ‘recipe for disaster’, says Bachelet

Berlin’s governing elite leads Eurozone to recession to win the September election in Germany

South Africa’s SMEs should be first in line for a digital upgrade

Blockchain will make sure green pledges aren’t just greenwash: a new initiative by young leaders at the World Economic Forum

5 ways students can graduate fully qualified for the Fourth Industrial Revolution

What little Cameron got in Brussels seems enough to keep Britain in the EU

Here’s how to find a job you really love

Medschool 4.0: how to succeed in the smart revolution of healthcare

This woman solved one of the biggest problems facing green energy

Neelie Kroes at the European Young Innovators Forum: Unconvention 2014

Erasmus+ 2021-2027: more people to experience learning exchanges in Europe

Eurostat overturns Commission’s assessment of the economy

US resolution to condemn activities of Hamas voted down in General Assembly

These are the world’s most fragile states in 2019

EU Border and Coast Guard: new corps of 10 000 border and coast guards by 2027

This is what the world’s CEOs really think of AI

China’s impact as a global investor; the Sting reports live from World Economic Forum 2015 in Davos

These are the top 10 emerging technologies of 2019

Varna (Bulgaria) awarded European Youth Capital 2017

Finland has giant supermarkets that only stock second-hand goods

Draghi: A bridge from Brussels to Berlin

Largest joint UN humanitarian convoy of the war, reaches remote Syrian settlement

Is Britain to sail alone in the high seas of trade wars?

The European Parliament wants to stay in one place

Mine action is at ‘the nexus’ of peace, security and development: UN official

The untold story of who caused and who pays for the economic crisis

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