Japan ranks second-lowest in education spending among OECD countries

Kyodo

Japan’s public spending on education ranked the second-lowest among 33 comparable countries, a report for 2013 by the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development found.

Narrowly avoiding a repeat of 2012 when it placed last, the report, released Thursday, found the nation’s ratio of educational expenditure to gross domestic product stood at 3.2 percent, a tad higher than Hungary’s 3.1 percent.

The average ratio among OECD countries was 4.5 percent, with Norway leading the list at 6.2 percent, followed by Denmark at 6.1 percent and Belgium, Finland and Iceland at 5.6 percent.

Japan’s total public and private funding on education per child was, however, found to be higher than the OECD average given the higher costs of universities and kindergartens here. The survey suggested that Japanese households bear a heavy financial burden for education.

The survey also showed the average working hours of teachers at public schools — from kindergarten to high school — in Japan reached 1,891 hours for 2014, about 300 hours longer than the OECD average due to time spent on club activities, paperwork and meetings.

In another sign of deteriorating working conditions for teachers, the survey showed the average income of teachers at elementary to high schools with 15 years of work experience fell 7 percent in the period from 2005 to 2014, while average income across the OECD was on the rise.