Magazine article Public Finance

OECD Urges Education Spending to Aid Recovery

Magazine article Public Finance

OECD Urges Education Spending to Aid Recovery

Article excerpt

The Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development has challenged governments to invest in education to ensure an effective recovery from the global recession.

The recommendations were welcomed by teachers, but economists suggested it was unlikely that any government could avoid cutting their education budgets.

Writing in the OECD's Education at a guance report on September 8, education director Barbara Ischinger said the net public return from investing in a higher education student was more than £30,000 - almost double the average amount spent in OECD countries.

Ischinger predicted that demand for education would increase as labour markets continue to be weak and explained how better-educated people were less likely to be unemployed.

'Education can be a powerful lever to moderate the social consequences [of the downturn] too,' she added, highlighting the relationship between lower levels of education, poor health and social exclusion.

The study also called for 'sustained policy responses' from education and employment authorities to ensure firms under pressure to make savings were still able to offer vocational training and traineeships.

Christine Blower, general secretary of the National Union of Teachers, said: 'If any government considers reversing the hard- won spending gains in education, it will return the UK to being massively disadvantaged when it comes to the level of skills and knowledge needed to compete at a global level. …

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