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Issue #1565      19 September 2012

Note from the Editor

Explanation of OECD education figures

In last week’s Guardian, the front page article “Privatisation of education – the Gillard-Gonski model” illustrated how teachers were relatively better paid in several of the top performing nations in education. It stated: “Drawing on OECD statistics, Rachel Browne in The Sydney Morning Herald (05-09-2012) notes that an experienced teacher in Australia is paid $47,000, which is 30 percent less than the average salary…” The OECD does not give raw figures. The figure is adjusted to take into consideration such factors as the impact of overall tax rates on individuals’ net income, the overall cost structure of different countries and the purchasing power of net earnings (PPPs).

The pay of an experienced teacher in Australia varies from state to state but is around $80,000 in the public education system. For a beginning fully qualified teacher it is well under $60,000.

The OECD’s report Education at a Glance, which was released last week, makes interesting reading. The relative proportion of public to private expenditure on non-tertiary education institutions is the fifth lowest in the OECD. (The US, the UK, the Pinochet model in Chile and Korea are lower.) Australia has one of the most privatised education systems, and the government wonders why our standards have slipped relative to other major nations and why the gap has widened between top and bottom students.


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