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Portugal spends ‘less on school pupils than OECD average’

… and majority of secondary school teachers earn below OECD average

Further headlines today impress the degree to which focus on education in Portugal has fallen behind other comparable countries.

In two separate stories, Lusa explains how Portugal spends less on its school pupils than the OECD average, while the majority of secondary school teachers also earn less than OECD counterparts.

Taking the topics separately: Portugal spends a similar amount on education to the OECD average, but spending per student is 14% lower in Portugal, at around €10,000 to the OECD average of €11,700.

This is one of the conclusions of the study ‘Education At a Glance 2023’  which reveals that Portugal is not far behind the OECD average when comparing only investment made in 2020 by 39 countries, taking into account the percentage of Gross Domestic Product (GDP).

Portugal spent 5.1 per cent of its GDP on institutions from primary to higher education, “a percentage similar to the average for OECD countries”, says the report.

But Portugal spends 14 per cent less per student than the average for OECD countries. At all levels, from primary to higher education, Portugal spent €10,063 per student per year, while the OECD average was €11,766, according to figures adjusted by the Purchasing Power Parity (PPP) conversion factor.

When it comes to teachers, the majority of those at secondary school level earn €8000 less than the OECD average – yet another ‘determining factor’ in the attractiveness of a profession that claims it has been seriously undervalued for over a decade.

Highlighting the discrepancies, Diário de Notícias says this means a secondary school teacher in Portugal may take home around 41,000 per year, when an OECD average sees teachers taking home more like €50,000 a year.

But there have been some ‘plus points’ in the Education at a Glance report: one is that the average salaries of teachers continue to be ABOVE the average salaries of citizens in general; Portuguese pupils have a longer period for compulsory education than the OECD average (7,700 hours over nine years, while the OECD average is 7,634), and class sizes in Portugal (theoretically at least) are smaller than the OECD average.

Another significant plus point is that only one in 10 young people in Portugal ‘neither study or work’ – a number above the OECD average.

Source material: LUSA