Tertiary education spending: How Australia fares in OECD metrics

Centre for Vocational and Educational Policy Public Seminar

Watch the recording of this seminar.

In Australian commentary, public funding for Australian tertiary education is widely seen as among the lowest in the OECD. In this narrative, figures drawn from recent OECD statistics reinforce the impression that Australian rates of investment lag those of nearly all other OECD countries.

However, such claims fail to consider particular features of the Australian situation, reflected in other OECD data. In consequence, commentary often gives partial accounts of the available OECD evidence on tertiary sector financing. In debates on funding policy, an effect of this has been to exaggerate the extent of Australian under-funding, relative to others in the OECD.

Drawing on the latest Education at a Glance statistics, the presentation will examine how the Australian tertiary education sector fares in a range of OECD metrics. It will show how these align with domestic data, and how Australian rates of expenditure compare with those of a selection of other OECD countries.

Along with technical analysis, the presenter will reflect on the politics of international comparisons in domestic funding debates.