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Turkey spent less money on education than the OECD average in 2020: report

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Turkey spent only 4.7 percent of its gross domestic product (GDP) on primary to tertiary educational institutions in 2020, while the corresponding share was 5.1 percent on average for Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) countries, Deutsche Welle Turkish service reported on Tuesday, citing a recent OECD report.

According to the report, titled “Education At a Glance 2023” and released on Tuesday, Turkey allocated 4.7 percent of its GDP to education, of which 20 percent was dedicated to primary education, 20 percent to lower secondary education, 28 percent to upper secondary education and 32 percent to tertiary education.

Expenditure per student averages around $10,700 at the primary level, $11,900 at the secondary and $18,100 at the tertiary level across the OECD countries, the report showed.

While Luxembourg stood out as the country with the highest expenditure across all program orientations at the upper secondary level (over $26,000 per student), Bulgaria, Chile, Colombia, Mexico and the Republic of Turkey spend less than $6,000 per full-time equivalent upper secondary education student.

The report further revealed that the cumulative spending on each student between the ages of six and 15 adds up to a total of around $112,000 on average across OECD countries, while the figure is less than $50,000 in Colombia, Romania and Turkey.

At the upper secondary level, expenditure on staff per full-time equivalent student amounts to about $8,800 on average across OECD countries, with Luxembourg again standing out for its high staff expenditure of around $20,000 and Chile, Colombia and Turkey spending below $4,000.

Despite low levels of expenditure per student, the difference between general and vocational education remains significant in Turkey, with about $2,800 per upper secondary student in general programs and about $5,000 in vocational programs, according to the report.

On average across OECD countries, the total expenditure on primary to tertiary educational institutions per full-time equivalent student increased by 0.4 percent between 2019 and 2020, the report said, adding that the increase reached 10.9 percent for primary to post-secondary non-tertiary students in Colombia and 18.6 percent for tertiary students in Lithuania.

The report also stated in contrast that the expenditure per student on primary to tertiary institutions fell by more than 6 percent during the same period in Chile, Hungary, Mexico and Turkey.

The report also revealed that the number of young people (between 18-24 years old) neither in employment nor in formal education or training (NEET), which is about 15 percent on average among OECD countries, is over 25 percent in Chile, Colombia, the Czech Republic and Turkey.

Turkey also has the highest share (33.3 percent) of 25-29 year olds NEETs with general upper secondary or post-secondary non-tertiary attainment, according to the report.

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