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OECD makes powerful case for investing in education and training

12 September 2023

The OECD’s Education at a Glance report provides strong evidence and powerful arguments to invest in and strengthen education, the teaching profession and vocational education and training.

Among its findings and recommendations are:

  • Higher levels of education are associated with positive economic, labour-market and social outcomes for individuals. Employment rates and earnings increase with education, while unemployment rates go down.
  • “Adequate funding is a precondition for providing high-quality education”. Government expenditure on education as a percentage of GDP has grown over the past 20 years across OECD countries but spending per student varies greatly – from less than USD 5 000 per student per year in Colombia, Mexico and Türkiye, to USD 25 000 per student per year in Luxembourg.
  • “Low wages reduce the attractiveness of the teaching profession”. “Countries should increase opportunities for career progression, reduce teachers’ administrative workload, improve the public image of teachers and boost pay in order to attract high quality teaching staff”.

“The OECD make a powerful case for Governments to invest in education and vocational education and training and in teachers”

— Veronica Nilsson, General Secretary of TUAC

  • Lifelong learning is crucial for the digital transformation and demographic change, but participation remains low, particularly for those most in need. Only slightly more than one in ten adults (25-64 year olds) participate in non-formal education and training (the most common type of adult learning) on average across OECD and accession countries. Only 4% of 25-64 year-olds with below upper secondary attainment participate in non-formal job-related education and training on average across OECD and accession countries.
  • “Boosting access to vocational training will be critical to ensure more young people can meet increasing demands for skilled workers and adapt to and benefit from the profound changes spurred by the green and digital transformations.” The OECD calls for vocational education and training (VET) to be made an equally valuable alternative to academic education, which involves enhancing the quality and perception of VET.

Education At a Glance also shows that high-quality early childhood education and care give children a more equal start in life.

“Ministers and Education and Employment Departments as well as employers need to act on the OECD’s recommendations” Veronica Nilsson, General Secretary of TUAC.  “Education and training is vital for climate action and in response to the rapid digital transformation, and for helping to ensure a socially just transition to a digital and net zero carbon economy.”

OECD’s Education at a Glance


Press release