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UNESCOs Global Education Digest

The UNESCO Institute for Statistics (UIS) has just published the 2007 issue of the Global Education Digest. This publication provides valuable insight into spending on tertiary education world-wide reporting from more than 200 countries. It focuses on the financing of education and provides a series of indicators to compare spending patterns across countries and levels of education.

One of the main findings of the reports is that global spending on education is concentrated in just a handful of countries: The education budget of a single country like Germany, Italy or the UK outweighs education spending across the entire sub-Saharan African region. The United States, home to just 4% of the world’s youth, spends 28% of the global education budget. The report also states that even though East Asia and the Pacific region have the second-highest share of global public spending on education (18%), the governments in the region are investing considerably less than their share of global wealth at 28% of GDP. The opposite and equally unbalanced scenario is found in South and West Asia. The situation in Latin America is more equilibrated, where global education spending corresponds to school-age population and share of global wealth (8% to 9%).

The Global Education Digest is a project started in 2003 by which the UIS monitors progress towards the education-related targets of the UN Millennium Task Force, as well as the broader set of Education for All (EFA) goals. Previous issues focused on mobility and participation, on which ACA has reported. (ACA Newsletter - Education Europe June 2006 and September 2005).

The report is available in English and French (Arabic, Russian and Spanish versions forthcoming) and can be downloaded at the UIS.