OECD gives Israel mixed report card on education

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The latest annual education update by the 35-nation Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) shows New Zealand bachelor's degree students in public institutions paid average fees of $US4295 a year in 2015-16, or $NZ5927 at yesterday's exchange rate.

Early childhood: nearly twice as many 2-year-olds are in preschool education in New Zealand (65%) than across the OECD (39%), although the numbers range widely from none in Ireland to 95% in Iceland, partly because of definitional differences.

When comparing different countries, teachers with the maximum qualifications at the top of their salary scale earn: less than USD $25 000 (AUD $31,175) in the Czech Republic, Lithuania and the Slovak Republic; USD $75 000 (AUD $93 525) or more in Austria, the French Community of Belgium, Germany and Korea; more than USD $95 000 (AUD $118,465) in Switzerland; and, more than USD $135 000 (AUD $168 345) in Luxembourg.

On average, primary school teachers in OECD countries are required to teach for 794 hours a year, and secondary teachers are in class 704 hours a year.

However, it should be noted that Israeli teachers work significantly fewer hours than their OECD counterparts.

The increase exceeded 20% in Poland at pre-primary, primary and secondary levels, as a result of a 2007 government programme that aimed to boost teachers' salaries and to improve the quality of education by providing financial incentives to attract high-quality teachers.

In a separate report on Tuesday, the government's spending watchdog, the National Audit Office, said secondary schools in England were struggling to recruit enough teachers to keep up with retiring staff and rising pupil numbers.

Teachers working with historically disadvantaged students face an even bigger gap.

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"While the rest of the world has prioritized teaching and learning, and is investing heavily in equity and teacher preparation, 36 USA states are spending less on education than before the Great Recession", said Randi Weingarten, president of the American Federation of Teachers, in a statement on the findings.

The report says "a relatively large share of the Irish population" has attained tertiary, or third-level education.

While teachers' pay is comparable to that of similar positions in other fields, the occupation remains unpopular.

At least 90 per cent of children in Ireland are enrolled in school from the age of five until 18, while the enrolment rate reaches 97 per cent for 15-19 year olds, above the OECD and the highest among countries with data available.

For a woman, the net public benefit was $US42,800 compared to the OECD average of $US83,400.

Teachers Union secretary-general Yaffa Ben-David said in response to the report: "It's hard to reconcile that teachers in Israel make less than 70% of the OECD average". The current average for the OECD was 21 students. "Adults who have completed second-level are more likely to be in employment, achieve better pay, and are at a lower risk for depression than those with less education".

Visit http://dx.doi.org/10.1787/eag-2017-en to download the full Education at a Glance 2017 report.